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November 17, 2017

Tommy Fleetwood

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Q. How proud are you of that performance today?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, it's all about how you react to stuff, isn't it. Yesterday I was really happy with how I reacted early on. Got off to a bad start and got back into it and I didn't really play great. Missed a couple of putts and it was like one of them rounds.

Yeah, it was a big day. But today, you get over it, you move on, and still three rounds of golf left to play; now there's two. Swing felt a lot better. I was on the putting green till dark last night. You know, today was just a much better today.

Q. How nice was it to be out earlier? A lot of focus on the head-to-head, match-play scenario with you and Justin yesterday. How nice was it to go out and have a little more freedom earlier on?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: The weather, definitely you get the better conditions. The greens are perfect. A lot of the time the wind picks up in the afternoon.

So yeah, that time in the morning, it was perfect golfing conditions. And if you played well, there's a score out there. I think there are quite a few accessible pins today. So as good as it -- I don't know where I'll end up today, but you'd fancy some low scores today by the looks of the pins. But sometimes it just seems that way when you play well.

But I definitely think there's a few birdie pins and luckily I made the most of a few of them. Definitely early morning, get out there and post a score, you always feel better for the rest of the day.

Q. You and Justin have had complimentary words to say about each other, a lot of mutual respect; we know that. What message does this send to your rival, given your performance today?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, I don't know if he'll be bothered or not. He's so strong mentally and he knows what he's doing. He's been in a lot of situations like this.

This is my first time. But I'm glad I've put my name up there. At least my name is somewhere now, rather than the wrong end of the leaderboard. You still have to go out and shoot scores. He's on amazing form at the moment. You know, I won't put him past it carrying it on and shooting another one.

I'm glad within myself that I played well today. Yesterday, left the course feeling a little bit, not down, but was a little bit of a sour day-ish, so it's nice.

Q. Be it mechanically, mentally, strategically, what was the difference Friday compared to Thursday?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, a new day. Every day is a new day. I worked on my putting till dark last night. That was sort of -- although I actually made some decent putts, that was sort of something that I wanted to work on.

Warmed up really well today. Swing felt a lot better, and yesterday it was a big day for me. It was something that I had never experienced before and I got off to a nervy start.

You know, but then felt fine. Got myself back into the round yesterday. Did a lot of good things. Just didn't play or putt as well as I would have liked to. There's a little bit of work gone into it today. Perfect conditions and a few accessible pins and just made the most of some good golf.

Q. When you leave the golf course today, do you feel more optimistic that you could win The Race to Dubai and possibly even win this tournament after today's performance?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, I was still, even last night, you're disappointed. You're always disappointed when you don't shoot a good score. But I still didn't count myself out of the tournament at all. If I had shot the same score today, then I would, but luckily I got a good score today.

So there's still a tournament to play for and there's still a Race to Dubai to play for. So there's two things going on and you've just got to concentrate on one, which is kind of each day as it comes and try and do your best in the tournament.

But I needed a low one today for sort of both purposes maybe. The only thing that you can control is the tournament in a way. Race to Dubai I can't do anything about the maths or what Justin does or anything.

So the sole focus was to try to get back into this event today. I knew I needed a low one. You don't know what the scores are going to be this afternoon but definitely a lot better off than I was at the start of the day.

Q. What a difference 24 hours makes.
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, it does, doesn't it. Much better day today. Was doing some practise till later on last night, and had a nice dinner with my fiancée and my son. Then come out today and I had a good warmup. The conditions were perfect. Some really nice pins.

The wind was sort of there but it was just -- it was kind of the right amount that you could use at times. You know, I don't know what the conditions are going to be like this afternoon, but first thing's first. I could only do what I was doing today, and I shot a great start.

Q. Poor start yesterday but 4-under through six today, and that really sort of set the tone for the rest of the round, getting off to that positive start?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Got off to a great start. Stiffed it on 1. Great chip on 2. 3, I hit it close and miss-read the putt. 4 I had a good chance and then knocked two good putts in on 5 and 6.

Actually the only bad shot that stood out was on the seventh tee and I ended up making a bogey on the par 5. You know, sometimes things like that happen where sort of momentum stops and halts.

I made two good two putts on 8 and 9, and then that whole back nine, just had chances all the way in. 16, I made a great par from 120 yards, and played 17 and 18 great.

Q. Seemed to be quite a lot of deliberation over the second shot on 18, but it turned out to be a great shot into the green.
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, sometimes I make decisions a bit too quick, and it's obviously a big shot. You don't want to get that wrong and walk away with, you know, a bogey or something. 17, a lot of discussion, as well. But sometimes little things like that, aside from the golf, when you've sort of talked about it so much and then made the right decision, you feel quite good about it.

But I think that's something that I'm learning as I'm going along, all the top players and all the experienced players know what they are doing in those situations. Me and Finno are getting better at that. Sometimes I'm a bit too quick and hasty but we got that one right.

Q. You said to us last week, you wanted a boring end to the season from your perspective in terms of The Race to Dubai. It looks like you've now set us up to an exciting end to the season?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: It's not boring. It's not boring. Yeah, you know, all the better for TV.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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