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November 16, 2017

Justin Rose

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Q. Your thoughts on that performance?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, really happy with that as a start. I kind of wanted to come out today with good intent and sort of get myself moving forward quickly.

Been fortunate enough to have won the last two events, but been doing so from quite a long way behind and you can't always rely on that. I was definitely keen today to come out and try and get going as quick as I could this week and see where it goes from here.

But delighted with the way I played today. I don't think I missed a green. 17 was just off the edge but I gave myself chances all day. You know, it got a little bit windier and trickier towards the end. I was really happy the way it turned out.

Q. What clicked on the back nine?
JUSTIN ROSE: The odd break. Made a putt. Made a couple decent-length putts. Holed a bunker shot for eagle. Caught my breaks and took advantage of 18 which is a pin that you want to take advantage of. Quite a aggressive with my second shot.

I could easily have hit 4-iron and come up short right but wanted to take on the widest part of the fairway with a 5-wood which I knew that would give me a wedge in my hand. Given that pin on the last, it was nice to take my chances.

Q. You're projected at the top just now -- can you think about that?
JUSTIN ROSE: I know the scenarios for the most part. But it's exciting for sure. Yeah, my job this week is to try to take as many scenarios as out, and just to try to win the tournament. Let's just tee up tomorrow and keep going.

Q. Thoughts for tomorrow?
JUSTIN ROSE: One shot at a time. You know, like all these tournaments, you can't win them on Thursday; you can only lose them, and you can't win them tomorrow or Saturday. Just keep myself in position.

Q. Do you feel like you have a target on your back?
JUSTIN ROSE: It's probably shifted today but tomorrow could be a whole other day. But absolutely, I think today was a great start for me.

Q. Looked like all aspects of your game seemed to come together today.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, a lot of good things happened. I drove the ball well today. Actually the front nine, my iron play was actually terrible. Even though I didn't miss a green, iron play wasn't really on song at all. Hit a couple chunks and had a lot of 40-, 50-foot putts on the front nine and began to get it going on the back nine.

Had a couple breaks. Made a putt of decent length on 11 and holed a bunker shot on 14. Little things started to really go my way on the back nine.

Q. Looks as though you could have been even better, with some great long putts coming up short, so could have been even better for you.
JUSTIN ROSE: You can always say that, right, for sure. I had a chance on 16 and one on 17. Was honing in on the hole towards the end. But all in all, delighted. Got a little bit breezier towards the end of our round. Probably not the easiest of the day.

Mind you, the northerly wind, the northwest wind actually doesn't do you any harm on this golf course. It makes the par 5s play a little bit shorter and 16 plays a little bit shorter. Even though it's a bit more windy, it makes some of the tougher holes more playable.

Q. Were you conscious you needed to get off to a fast start in this tournament?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I was happy to be patient no matter what happened today. But also, conscious that I've won from eight back on the weekends the last two times, but that's not really a recipe that you want to continue to follow because it's very hard to come back and win from those sorts of margins back. I was very cognizant today of getting off to a strong start.

Q. Coming into the tournament on the back of two wins, that has to give you a good psychological edge coming into these big tournaments at the end of the year?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, for sure but I never really felt 100 per cent comfortable out there today, either. There's a lot on the line today and this week. It was a lovely start. I feel like I can build on that now for the rest of the week and was patient in spots, as well.

Q. It strikes me that when you're in a rich vein of form, the breaks go with you, and it was that kind of day today, wasn't it.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think the front nine was solid. I took advantage of the par 5s. Didn't miss a green on the front nine but left myself a lot of long putts. Had a couple good two putts but finally the long one got me No. 9 where I 3-putted there but that kicked me into gear. I birdied 10, 11 and holed that bunker shot on 14.

But my caddie, Fooch, to give him credit said, "You know, we missed the fairway, if you can get into that bunker, it's a really good spot to be." It was a little tougher bunker shot than I imagined it was going to be, but helped that he had a lot of confidence in my bunker game. He wanted me in that bunker. That was our best possible option from missing the fairway and to make the bunker shot was nice.

Q. How much are you relishing being involved in this duel at the end of the season?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I mean, this was not really on the radar a month ago. That's the perspective that I have to keep because it's an opportunity for me. Certainly be easy to start to think about it now as being in my hands but I think for me, it's still a bonus at this point.

So there's two things to think about this week: Winning the golf tournament and winning The Race to Dubai. I know that if I do one of those, the first one, then the second one happens. I've just got to try and put together a really good final three rounds and do what I always do. You know, some weeks it happens, some weeks it doesn't, but right now things are certainly feeling a bit easier than they normally do.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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