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November 17, 2017

Matthew Fitzpatrick

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Q. How important for you to finish with a birdie on 18?
MATT FITZPATRICK: Yeah, it was great to obviously hole the 25-footer on the last. I said to Jamie, we were putting really, really well all week so far and all day today. It was actually the first one from sort of that length we felt like was a fairly easy read, kind of right-to-left on it and slightly downhill. That's all there was to it. Yeah, it was nice to see it go in.

Q. I know you've touched on pace and you've been working hard on the greens, and coming from a year removed from pretty much holing everything you looked at 12 months ago, what is it about these surfaces and what confidence does that give you to go on and try to defend your title?
MATT FITZPATRICK: I think the thing is, you get so many fast putts around here, even uphill into the green, they are still running at 12, 13 even.

You've just got to be really sort of careful with your putts. Every putt is effectively a 2-putt. If you've got a 10-footer for a birdie, there's no way you can hit it -- you've got to control your pace well and limit your mistakes, because it's easy to 3-putt out here.

Q. How do you now stay in the moment, stay present, big weekend ahead, and also lean on how well you have been playing the last few weeks?
MATT FITZPATRICK: Yeah, I think it's one of those things, I've got nothing to lose. I'm not trying to win The Race to Dubai unfortunately.

I won here last year, so again, I've got nothing to lose. Obviously it would be nice to defend but you know sort of the odds when you're coming into the tournament, there's great players at the top of the leaderboard already.

I think the only thing I would say is that I did win last year, and that probably gives me a little bit more confidence than everyone else. Maybe apart from Rosey because he's won the last two starts.

Yeah, I'm just looking forward to the weekend and delighted that I could put myself in position.

Q. You said yesterday that putting was a big key in your opening round. Was it the same today?
MATT FITZPATRICK: Absolutely. I didn't feel like my approach play was as good as it could have been. I think it was smart, like we played away from flags. Just went to the fat part of the greens, just playing sensible. We were really good at that all day, first two rounds, really.

My pace of putts has been really good so far, and hopefully just take it into the weekend.

Q. Your last seven starts, you have a victory at the European Masters and the other six you've yet to finish outside of the Top 15, so you bring momentum to Dubai. How confident do you feel about your game right now overall through the bag?
MATT FITZPATRICK: Yeah, it's in good shape. Like you say, I've had a nice, consistent run, which is the first time for a while for me, which I'm really pleased about. That's a big thing, we had a meeting before Switzerland, was to become more consistent and challenge more regularly.

Yeah, everything feels good. Maybe just do a little bit of work on the irons sort of this afternoon or evening, and just yeah, look toward to the weekend.

Q. You've come up with a good putt on 18 to come up with a birdie. Must take you back to last year and the reaction of the crowd?
MATT FITZPATRICK: Yeah, I guess so. Brings back good memories, that green. To hole a lengthy one on the last was nice.

Q. A steady round, a couple of blips and the eagle was the highlight. You've played two solid rounds of golf over the opening two days.
MATT FITZPATRICK: Yeah, absolutely. It's not easy out there. The wind is swirling out there and it can get strong and disappear on you.

Yeah, I would snatch your hand off if you had gave me those two rounds at the start of the week. Yeah, it's a good start.

Q. Nice to see the young British guys all going well in this tournament.
MATT FITZPATRICK: Absolutely. I saw that round from Tyrrell, which was very, very good, and Tommy, as well, to bounce back after yesterday under the pressure that he's under. Yeah, it's very impressive.

Q. Talk about pressure of coming into an event as a defending champ. Do you feel there's been a deflection away from that this week with everything talked about The Race to Dubai?
MATT FITZPATRICK: Yeah, definitely, it's something that everybody's focused on, really is the Race to Dubai, and obviously being so close and Justin putting pressure on Tommy, it makes for exciting viewing. I think that's what everyone is probably focused on this week.

Q. As defending champion, must be nice to see your name up there at the halfway stage of this tournament?
MATT FITZPATRICK: Absolutely. Still a long way to go but looking forward to the weekend.

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