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January 18, 2019

Ian Poulter

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Q. You started seven shots behind and ended four behind. How good did that eagle feel?
IAN POULTER: It felt pretty good, I have to say. The round was a bit frustrating. Right from the first hole, hit it in the bunker up by the green and it was -- right from that moment, no sand in a lot of these bunkers, they are not as good as what they should be and they have been in the past. It was one of those days where I wanted to keep it out of the traps but all I kept doing was hitting it in them. To finish with a three was good, especially after obviously bogeying 16.

It looked a long way back when Shane was moving way forward, but eagle and a bogey obviously helps.

Q. The first couple of days you struggled a little bit with mental fatigue the last few holes and made the odd mental mistake and today 3-under through the last six. Was it that much better?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, it was. It was a good sleep last night. I haven't felt too bad, so I've kind of got over I think most of the jet-lag. Hopefully tomorrow -- I haven't hit any balls after the round and I haven't done what I would normally do, so I've been resting up a lot and hopefully that helps tomorrow.

Q. We don't know what the situation will be when the leaders finish, but you're likely to have some ground to make up. How will you approach tomorrow?
IAN POULTER: Stay out of these bunkers, for one and try and hole a few putts. That's all I can do. The greens are good and I think if you play well, and you play smart, take advantage of the par 5s tomorrow, I think definitely in with a chance.

Q. Sounds like you're getting great support out there. Tell us about it from your point of view?
IAN POULTER: It's great. Abu Dhabi has always been good, a lot of home support fans obviously fly out for the Middle East swing. They are out on holiday, and they are having a few drinks and it's Friday, the weekend for them. Playing in front of these guys is always good fun.

Q. How important to get that eagle at 18? It's put you right back into contention?
IAN POULTER: It definitely helps. Obviously Shane was moving his way up the board quite nicely on a difficult today. More wind today than what we had the first two days. So I knew it was going to be reasonably tricky day but you know, to finish with a three is great, and you know, hopefully I can have a little run up the board tomorrow.

Q. How much tougher has it been out there today than the first two days?
IAN POULTER: It's tough when you hit in a few of those green-side bunkers. They have been very tricky this week, trying to predict the inconsistency, what we've got this week. I suppose you shouldn't really be hitting in them, so it's my fault. I'll try not to hit them in there tomorrow. Try to be aggressive and try and make as many birdies as I can and see if we can have some fun.

Q. How much is time management been an important part this week, bearing in mind the journey to get here?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, it's definitely going to factor. I haven't hit any balls or putted after the round, which sometimes I do. Just trying to stay fresh, knowing, obviously, five weeks on the road can be quite difficult. This being the middle week with the biggest travel in between was probably always going to be the toughest of the five. You know, just trying to rest up is the smart thing to do.

I think when you look at the board and Shane is making birdies and you bogey 16 and you come back with a quick eagle 18 and he drops a shot, it's definitely very, very helpful. Hopefully I can have a run tomorrow and try and put him under a little bit of pressure. It's not easy when he's playing as well as this. He's 9-under on the 12 par 3s he's played so far. He's obviously playing well and holing putts.

But if I can get off to a quick start tomorrow, then hopefully we can have a run.

Q. It was a fantastic second shot into 18. What were the numbers on it?
IAN POULTER: 243 front, 265 pin. Wind was straight left-to-right. MY 3-hybrid carries 240, so that was potentially having to ride the wind. So it was a 40-yard sliding cut 3-wood and it worked out pretty nice to about 15, 18 feet.

Q. Given little club twirl, you knew it as soon as you hit it, that it could be pretty special?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, it was good. It was one of those shots that providing you stayed committed to it and moved the ball as much as you need to move it in the wind, it was definitely going to have a chance to get up there close to the pin.

Q. How exciting, how potentially significant is it to be in the mix so early in the season going into the final round of a big event such as this?
IAN POULTER: It's great. Seeing as I started the two weeks in Hawai'i and not hole putts that I probably thought I should have been, so with coming out this week and actually holing some nice putts, which has been great, a couple of great par putts, which I holed today which really held the round together, that's what you need to do to have a strong week. I'm pleased with my form coming off of five weeks resting. With that and a five-week run to start the year off, hopefully we can have a big push early on.

Q. Gives you momentum, doesn't it?
IAN POULTER: Give momentum, and I'll enjoy the ski slopes in a few weeks' time.

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