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January 26, 2018

Thomas Aiken

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Q. 67, 10-under, how pleased are you with that?
THOMAS AIKEN: Yeah, I've been playing nicely the last couple of days for a change. It's been quite nice. I went through an equipment change the last few months and struggling to find drivers, fairway woods, etc., etc.

But finally everything kind of clicked this week. Put some new woods in the bag and got a new set of irons last week, so everything's slowly coming together. But very pleased with the way that today went. I played really well the whole day. I had a bit of a hiccup on the 10th hole, and I hit the cart path and went out-of-bounds and ended up making triple.

Came back nicely which I was very impressed, just stayed calm and kind of kept it together and managed to come in 4-under par from there. So all in all, really pleased with the day.

Q. What are the reasons for the equipment change?
THOMAS AIKEN: My old clubs were nine years old. Well, not quite nine. From the beginning of 2010, so they kind of had holes in them, so it was needed, and then last year, my driver cracked at the U.S. Open.

So been playing around with a few drivers since then and you know, I think trying to find equipment that works the way that you hope it works is not as easy adds everyone thinks. It takes a few months. But when you get it right, everything starts coming together. Happy to be through that phase and on to the playing golf phase.

Q. Quite surprising, taking so long to get used to.
THOMAS AIKEN: It's just new irons. When I different souls, goes through the turf differently, you get different trajectories. Instead of getting used to something, I like to see the same thing that I had before. Went through a few sets of irons over the last couple of months and got a set of Miuras in the bag, which is a Japanese set, and they seem to be working really well. I can control my trajectory quite well.

Adrian from TaylorMade helped me out with some woods this week. I got some good fairway woods and finally a good driver in the bag, and I think the way the game's gone the last few years, you need a good driver in the bag. So it makes life a lot easier, hitting two clubs less into every green.

Q. You've had a couple of decent finishes here in the past. How much do you feed off those performances?
THOMAS AIKEN: Yeah, it's quite funny, actually. It's not really a golf course that's ever really seen my eye. I like to hit it left-to-right. Most holes go right-to-left, especially on the back nine. But I've always seemed to play quite well here and I think it's more due to the fact that the condition of the course is unbelievable. You have tight fairways and the rough is really thick and you get penalised for missing fairways. Then the greens are rock hard. I think that's the key factor.

It just shows, golf course doesn't need to be ridiculously long for to play challenging. I know the scores are really good this week, but I think that's down to the fact that we've had no wind and the greens are just so pure that everyone is holing putts. I mean, you have rough like this and greens that are firm; if you start missing fairways, it starts showing. So it's a course from a manicuring point of view that kind of suits my game, but from a whole directional point of view, it's not quite there. But I seem to perform pretty well in it.

Q. You touched on the 10th hole. You must be delighted with the way you bounced back to finish off the round.
THOMAS AIKEN: Yeah, it's a hole that you expect to make birdie on. Making triple-bogey on it is something that I don't think I've ever done. I can fully count on two fingers the times that I've made bogey on that hole in my career.

Yeah, I was very happy with the way that I just stayed patient. It's been a frustrating start to the year, trying to get through all these niggles and equipment-wise, and obviously haven't got off to the start I would have wanted. Showed promise in Hong Kong for the first two rounds but kind of fell away on the weekend.

To feel like every attribute of your game is there, just makes you feel a lot better and more comfortable about the season ahead. So I think it was a little easier to bounce back knowing that I kind of had it going and just try to keep it going for the next eight holes and ended up making four birdies in the next eight holes.

Puts me in a good spot going into the weekend and we'll forget about the 10th hole.

Q. Just finally, the weather delay. How do you cope with that? Is there any way you can?
THOMAS AIKEN: It was kind of difficult this morning, especially being first group out. We normally in a normal weather delay, you'll get pulled off the golf course and if it's more than an hour delay, you get 40 minutes to warm up and you can go back out.

This one was kind of strange because we were on the tee and they called it on the tee. So we had not teed off yet and they just kept delaying it 20 minutes. So I actually spent the whole morning from basically ten to 6.00 until 10.00 warming up. So I was pretty tired when I teed off, which was kind of an interesting one.

I certainly haven't been through that in my career before, but they ended up making a good decision in the end where they just said, listen, we'll call it and make it 30 minutes, which I think was the right decision in the end, which kind of helped six of us. There were six of us on the practise area talking to each other saying, geez, warming up for four hours. We're getting tired now. Almost feel like we need to eat again and have a nap.

It wasn't the ideal start but you take what you get.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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