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ABU DHABI HSBC CHAMPIONSHIP


January 19, 2019


Shane Lowry


Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

BRIONY CARLYON: Delighted to be joined by our champion for this year's 2019 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Presented by EGA, Shane Lowry. Congratulations, sir.

SHANE LOWRY: Thank you very much.

BRIONY CARLYON: Give us your thoughts on how thrilled you are to have a Rolex Series victory to your name. It's been since 2015, your last win. Just how big is this for you at the moment?

SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, it's been probably 3 1/2 years since my last win. So to come out at the start of the year, I knew I had been playing all right in the last couple of weeks in my preseason that I was doing. But I didn't really envisage this to be honest.

62 on Wednesday, the first round and kick on from there and just play good golf for the rest of the week but it was -- look, I'm just over the moon to have won again, and you don't know, like, you look at -- I think you look at Westy and Danny Willett at the back end of last season and you see what they did and they came back -- like you don't know when you're going to win again. It's so hard to win out here.

I'm just so grateful that I've won this and I'm so happy, and I'm going to really enjoy it because you just don't know when it's going to happen again.

BRIONY CARLYON: You spoke about matching the course record in the opening round. How does that set you up for a tournament like this?

SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, it does. It obviously sets you up well because you're leading by three after one round, but one thing it does do it puts you in contention right from the word go, and it makes it a very long week. It's a long week being in contention over four days.

Look, I'm not complaining because I'm very happy I was there, but yeah, it obviously set me off, and the confidence I gained from a round like that, to shoot 10-under around this golf course, I think showed me that my game is where I want it to be and that I just need to go out and stay out of my own way and hit some good shots and see what happens after that.

Q. You were three clear and then four behind after 11 I think. Can you just say what your emotions were like at that time?
SHANE LOWRY: You know, it was weird because obviously I started three ahead, and I was level par through six, and he 3-putt 6 to go back all tied for the lead. Level par through six and I was tied for the lead. There wasn't any alarm bells ringing there for me.

Then just around the turn, four fives in a row on 8, 9, 10 and 11, which is not very good but the golf course was playing more difficult. I just kept telling myself, just hang in there. It's not easy, it's not easy to lie down and showed a bit of bottle and a bit of character there today I thought. The one on 12 was huge and the one on 13, I knew when I holed that, I knew I'm right back in this because I knew the holes coming up were not easy but if you hit good shots, you can make a birdie or two.

Yeah, I've had plenty of conversations with my coach, Neil, in the last few days, about just worrying about what's ahead of me and not worrying about what's going on behind me, when it comes to anything, no matter what score I shoot.

And it's going to be the same conversation I'll have the next couple days going into the tournament in Dubai; that you have to put this week behind and you unfortunate to worry about what's going to happen on Thursday.

Obviously I'm going to enjoy this because it's a huge moment in my career, but when it comes to Thursday, I'm just going to have to try and put that behind me and just kick on from there.

Q. I know we always bang on about Oakmont. Did that come into your mind at all?
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, it did. And look, I had -- I slept okay last night, but it was a little bit nervy this morning, breakfast and lunch didn't go down as well as it has been the last few days.

But the one thing I got from Oakmont is I laid down and I didn't show any fight or bottle there and I did that today.

So that's kind of -- I felt after the 11th hole, I was getting myself in the same situation that I got myself in Oakmont and I genuinely thought that. But I kind of had a quick word with myself and told myself that, you know, just kick on now and just see what I can do for the next seven -- six or seven holes.

Q. How important was that chip that you had and the putt on the 17th hole?
SHANE LOWRY: Well, it arguably won me the tournament in a way. Because I think going down the last one behind, we hit two great tee shots down the last. It wasn't that easy of a tee shot today. Fully I knew Richard only had a 5-wood in his bag and had no 3-wood. He would have had 285 yards to the flag, so I knew he couldn't really get it there and it was a perfect 3-wood for me.

You know, I knew I had a little bit of an advantage there but obviously the up-and-down on 17 was huge. The chip was pretty good, but I hit a great putt and it actually, six feet out, I thought, this is definitely in. Then it just started to wiggle left and it just caught the left edge.

I was very happy, and I think momentum-wise, he probably had a bit of a thought that I might miss that and he would be one ahead playing the last. I think going in, it was in my court going down 18.

Q. I was going to ask the club you used for the second on 17 and the length of the putt.
SHANE LOWRY: The second or the third? I hit 6-iron right of the green.

Q. That's the one I mean.
SHANE LOWRY: I actually had a good lie and I hit a really bad shot. I'm generally very good out of fairway bunkers, but I think I got a little aggressive and thought I had a perfect number. Close enough.

But then the putt was 12 feet I suppose and it was one of those, I felt I was putting quite nicely this week but for the first nine holes today, but felt like I got it back on the back nine and just had to pick my line.

Q. You talked early in the week about being on an 18-month mission to get on Pádraig's Ryder Cup Team. This is not a bad way to start. What do you think the confidence of this win will give you going forward?
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, it should do. I still have a goal in my head I'm working towards every day and just because I won this doesn't mean I can take my foot off the gas.

It's a great steppingstone, no doubt, because I'm back in the big tournaments now for the foreseeable future and hopefully I can kick on from here and move back up the World Rankings where I feel like I really belong.

Q. You said you had a bit of a wobble around the turn, but were you aware Richard had played the front nine in 31? Were you starting to think it might be the other guy's day?
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, look, I felt he started great. He's a great player. He hit some great shots and when he chipped in on No. 5, I was like, you know -- then I missed the putt, a big two shot thing there but he did have a bit of a 3-putt on the next.

I knew things were going well for him and he was having a good day but I just needed to stick in there. And then when I got him back to two shots, I thought, he's the one with all the pressure on him now. The pressure's gone from me to him, and if I can just keep that pressure on him for the next few holes, you never know what can happen.

You know, that's what I did, and look, it was my day in the end, but you know, it was a great putt at the end of the day.

Q. The start of the week, you talked about going to Malaysia and Qatar and places like that, but this going to change things again, isn't it. Wonder if you'll have to rethink your schedule?
SHANE LOWRY: I set my schedule at the start of the year and I said if I change it, it's going to be for the better. Look, I'm going to be in MĂ©xico and I'm going to be in the Match Play.

I'm not sure when the cutoff date is for Augusta, but I'll have to make sure I'm in that, as well. It's a very tight next few months ahead for me but now I'm just going to enjoy this, go to Dubai next week and Saudi the week after and see what happens after that.

BRIONY CARLYON: Congratulations, Shane.

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