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November 15, 2018

Jon Rahm

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Q. Good start to this year's DP World Tour Championship, after a bit of a disappointment at 16 and 17, how big did that birdie on 18 feel?
JON RAHM: It felt like a resurrection, honestly. If you tell me when that ball is in the air on 16 I was going to finish 5-under with a birdie on 18, I wouldn't hit you because I thought I hit it really, really close to the hole, it was a great ball flight looking ten at it and then it was ten feet too short and 3-putt, and misjudged with a club on 17. But you can always finish on a good note. 4- or 5-under would have been a good round, despite what happened. That putt on 17 gave me a little life.

After the drive on 18, I didn't expect the ball to end up where it did, but hit a great second shot and third one, and relatively easy birdie.

Q. How awkward was the stance on 18 with your feet in the bunker?
JON RAHM: It's not something you practise, really. It helps that I'm 6-3 for that situation because no right-hander would have been able to stand outside the bunker.

To be honest, Adam told me I had 140 metres to the bunker. I grabbed a 6-iron, tried to make it roll down the fairway and never thought I was going to get anywhere close and when that ball came out, and glad that I got 50 extra yards -- instead of seven iron, I had a pitching wedge in.

Q. We know what this course and this tournament means, given what you produced a year ago. What was the excitement and expectation for you heading in on a layout you clearly love?
JON RAHM: Well, it was my third chance this year to defend the title. Earlier at the Farmers, Torrey Pines, I started off great. Wasn't able to close it out and finish strong.

In Ireland, I almost got it done. Almost produced my own miracle on 18.

Just continuing the same thing. I am defending champion. I like the thought that I am the only one who can win it two years in a row, so keeping that in mind. But again, it's really important to keep the ball in the fairway off the tee. If I keep hitting good drives like I have today and like I did last year, decent iron play, I'm going to have a lot of birdie chances.

So if I keep hitting the driver like I did today, I'll definitely have a chance Sunday.

Q. Closing with a 67 in the DP World Tour Championship and you open up this year's edition with a 67. Are you satisfied with your performance today?
JON RAHM: I am. I am, really. It's very easy to look at 16 and 17 and complain about those two bogeys because I really had it going playing really good golf. But I would have taken 5-under at the start of the round.

I would have taken how solid I played pretty much up until -- actually, the only shot I really missed was the shot on 17. It was more a misclub than a missed shot. If I can have three more days of solid golf like that, I'll be extremely happy and I'll have a chance on Sunday.

Q. Why are you so comfortable on this golf course?
JON RAHM: I don't know. There's a lot of undulation on those greens, and they are usually firm.

So being able to hit it high, it's a huge advantage, and luckily I like to hit a high cut with the irons and I can be pretty aggressive on most of the pins. I think my strength off the tee it gives me a little bonus; the fact that I can hit driver confidently and carry certain bunkers that others can't, or just be as accurate as I was today, was going to give me a lot of chances.

Again, last year was a great combination of strength off the tee and iron play. Today it was nothing different to that. So if I can keep the train going, and it seems like these ground make me have a little bit of above-average ball-striking days, I'm going to have a chance.

I just like it. It's a course that suits my eye. I enjoy it a lot, so hopefully I can keep the rounds in the 60s going.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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