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November 16, 2017

Matthew Fitzpatrick

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Q. 67, how pleasing to make a start like that, especially coming in as defending champ.
MATT FITZPATRICK: Yeah, 67 anywhere is a great start but obviously defending champ, as well, it's probably a little bit extra special I guess.

So it's kind of good to sort of continue where I left off, sort of get off to a good start with a low one.

Q. Describe the emotions coming back as defending champion, and you're in some really nice form at the moment.
MATT FITZPATRICK: Yeah, that's the exciting thing. I sort of feel like I've been playing quite nicely, and I've had a good stretch of weeks.

And obviously coming here again, you're full of confidence, knowing the place like the back of your hand and doing so well the year before. It sets up for an exciting week, and you never know.

So I've been playing quite well and it would be nice to finish the year on a high.

Q. How is the course playing right now? What are playing conditions compared to maybe a year ago?
MATT FITZPATRICK: Yeah, the weather, I feel like this week has been a lot hotter than previous weeks when we've been in Dubai. The ball is travelling five, ten yards further, so you've got to be wary of that.

A little breeze which is picking up, which is kind of nice, but at the same time makes it difficult. But like you said, the scoring conditions are perfect. The greens are fantastic; they are every year. It makes it a little bit easier to score.

Q. And you talked about this in your press conference pre-tournament, a lot of attention obviously on Rose and Fleetwood and The Race to Dubai, but do you feel like you are a little under the radar?
MATT FITZPATRICK: Yeah, absolutely. It's obviously a great thing to have, and obviously I've been doing a bit more press this week being defending champion.

But at the same time, Tommy and Rosey and Sergio, they are all under a little more pressure to win The Race to Dubai. I guess it's a little advantage I've got.

Q. Five birdies and a bogey. It looked like the game was pretty easy for you from our perspective. Was it from your perspective?
MATT FITZPATRICK: Yes and no, obviously. I made a couple good up-and-downs early doors on 1 and 3, but other than that, I think I hit pretty much every other green and only missed one, actually, on 16, which was a good up-and-down.

I think the big thing around here is it's so easy to 3-putt. You feel like you've hit a good shot and maybe just get the wind wrong and you're 45 feet away. The greens are so quick and slopey, it's easy to 3-putt. That was a big thing. We worked a lot on pace this week because we knew how fast they were and that helped a lot.

Q. The greens may be the biggest defence of this golf course because they have so much movement. Considering you're the defending champion and you putted so well last year to win this tournament, does that give you a better sense of confidence on these greens?
MATT FITZPATRICK: Yeah, definitely. You know what you've achieved before. You've had similar sort of putts. You know where the green is and all that sort of stuff.

It definitely, I feel, gives me an advantage, having done so well the year before. You go into the tournament with confidence, and I've been playing pretty nicely leading up to this week. Just try to take it in stride I guess.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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