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November 16, 2017

Tommy Fleetwood

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Q. Not maybe the start you wanted but you were able to bounce back and put together a solid number. How would you assess this day?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Could have been better for starters. Yeah, similar to a lot of the first rounds I've had recently. The start was shocking. I gifted the first; should have made five at worst on the second. Should have made a birdie. Gifting shots away early on.

Played all right. It was such an up-and-down day. Missed a couple of short putts. Holed a couple of decent ones. Yeah, just need to do better.

Q. What do you attest that start to?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: There's a bit of nerves there. There's always going to be. Never been in this position before. A bit of nerves. And then just poor 3-putt on 1. Like I say, I got a flyer with my second shot; out of position, make bogey, move on, make six. That's just poor golf, really.

The second, should have got up-and-down. Pushed the 4-iron but the miss was right, and then should have got up-and-down, really. It was a basic chip.

Just poor-ish shots, really, from around the greens. That was it, really, and then you're sort of behind the game a little bit. 3, I was like inches from it being perfect even though I pulled it slightly. But was good from there on in until sort of a bad tee shot on 10 and missed a couple of short putts, really, 12 and 17.

Q. Finally, moving ahead to tomorrow, re-pair: Good, bad or indifferent that you're not playing with Justin?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Well, on his score, I'd like to be playing with him again.

It doesn't matter so much. You've just got to get on with the task at hand now. As of right now, it is kind of out of my hands a little bit out of that start, but you never know what can happen. Three days to go, that's the luxury of four rounds of golf. I've got three more to go, and let's see what happens.

I was just hit-and-miss all day really. Missed a couple of short putts. That 3-putt on 17 -- when the greens get a little more grainy at the end of the day and you put a bad stroke on it, the ball goes sideways. A couple of missed putts, a couple of missed -- yeah, just one of those days.

Obviously it looks a lot worse because I was playing with Rosey, who hardly missed a shot and shot 6-under. But I just felt, especially after the start, if I had got it around under par, it would have been a decent start, and I just, you know, sort of let it slip. I had a good birdie chance on 18. 17 was just a poor 3-putt.

Luxury of golf is you have three more rounds to go.

Q. The front nine, was there anything in particular in the first few holes that you just were unsettled or nerves at all?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, obviously it was a nervy start. You're always going to be nervous. It all comes down to this at the end of the year and playing for like the biggest achievement in my career essentially. But you know, the first hole is like a comedy of errors. Got a flyer with my second shot, out of position; just make five, get on with it. Over-hit the pitch a little bit but it wasn't easy. 2-putt, move on, make five.

Second hole is a par 5. Hit a great tee shot and should have made four. I just gifted shots away around the greens. The third, it's like two inches away. I pulled it slightly but it's like two inches away from being really good.

But after that, I think, you know, aside from that little start, I was happy that I showed good character and got myself back in it, level par through nine.

It was just up and down all the time. Drive it in the bush on 10. Birdied 11 when I was nearly in a bush. 14, holed a great putt for birdie. It was just really up-and-down. Level par, 1-under, would have felt, oh, it's just level par; feels so much better than 1-over. But yeah, just one of those days. Obviously it looks a lot worse next to Rosey. He played absolutely flawless golf today. It was unreal.

But like I said, there's three more days. I've just got to, at the moment, it is actually kind of out of my hands all of a sudden. I've just got to go out and do my best.

Q. Is there a sense that maybe the pressure is off? Are you going after Rosey, or are you just going to try to post your score for the next three days?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: I'm still trying to figure that out. I mean, I'm sort of -- 1-over is a long way out of it, so if you look in terms of the tournament, I've got to shoot something really low tomorrow and Saturday. Yeah, then it will depend on how he plays.

But there's three rounds of golf. 54 holes is a lot of holes and anything can happen. I've had, you know, it's been similar to the last few weeks where I've not had great first rounds but sort of climbed the leaderboard steadily. You know, just go out tomorrow and do my best.

Like I said, I wasn't far off after I really bad start. I wasn't really far off actually shooting a decent score today. It's just that, you know, 17 leaves a sour taste in your mouth, but it's all right.

Q. Some pretty good golf on some of those holes. You had to scramble a little bit and the eagle was the highlight.
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, it was an up-and-down day. Gradually got better. Overall it's not a very good score. But the course is clearly scorable. You have to move on. You know, today is gone. Three more rounds and see what happens.

Q. Having seen Justin chip-in from the bunker, it must have been nice to sink the birdie putt to keep your momentum going.
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, the back nine, drove it in the bush on 10 and made birdie on 11 from not a very good position and 12 missed a short-ish par putt and 14, I had a really difficult bunker shot and then holed a really good putt.

You never know, get off to a hot start tomorrow, you never know, see where we're at. That's the luxury of four rounds of golf. Thankfully it's not a one-round tournament. Yeah, there's 54 holes, so let's have a good 54 holes.

Q. Anything you're going to focus on ahead of tomorrow?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: I need to putt a little better. I know I can play better than today. So we'll just get on with it and get out there and try and shoot some low scores.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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