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January 24, 2019

Matthew Fitzpatrick

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Q. A good round became an excellent round and took you into the lead with five birdies in the last six holes. Take us through that run from your point of view.
MATTHEW FITZPATRICK: Yeah, it was obviously a great finish to the round. A couple things that sort of I've been doing in the off-season sort of looked to have paid off a little bit, so I just added a bit of extra length to my driver, so it's given me a few yards to help get on in two on the last because I've never been able to do that. And then, yeah, just wedging it a lot better has given me a few more chances coming in.

Q. 14 players this morning shot 5-under or better. As you teed off in more breeze, what was the mindset going out with all those low scores on the board?
MATTHEW FITZPATRICK: Yeah, when we went out actually it wasn't too bad. I didn't think it was too bad at all, to be honest. But then sort of midway around as we were playing the back nine, it got a little bit cooler, a little bit windier. I did actually say to the boys, well, we got a bit unlucky with the draw. So got to take that back now. But I think the scoring this morning obviously -- they had better weather. There wasn't as much wind. It has died a little bit now. But yeah, it was just sort of try and make as many birdies as possible and play smart.

Q. How much work did you put in over that winter period to stay sharp because you appeared to have carried the momentum from Hong Kong into the new year.
MATTHEW FITZPATRICK: Yeah, I'm not going to lie, I was really disappointed with my season last year, second in Hong Kong kind of saved it a little bit at the end of the year there, but I knew a lot of things needed to change. I needed to work on different parts of my game, different shots, and really did feel like I put in a lot of work, to be honest. And so far I've played five rounds this year and have played pretty well for all of them. Hopefully it continues, but yeah, it's just nice to see it pay off.

Q. Billy Foster on the bag; how are you enjoying his experience and his sense of humour?
MATTHEW FITZPATRICK: Yeah, his sense of humour could outweigh the experience, I think. But no, he's brilliant. Like you say, he's been through a lot, and having him on the bag, I'm a very lucky man. I know he had quite a few offers. Yeah, it's sort of nice to sort of have him there alongside me.

Q. 1-under when you made the turn, but everything seemed to change for you. Was it the weather conditions, or have you found something different?
MATTHEW FITZPATRICK: No, I just made a few putts, gave myself a few more chances coming in. I think I made the turn giving myself two chances inside of 15 feet, and I think -- for birdie, that is, and then on the back nine, I think I had maybe six. I managed to take all of them, which was nice, and it sort of led to a good finish.

Q. I think what we saw out of most of the players out there, their first nine holes seemed to be a bit more challenging. Did you find conditions to be more challenging at times?
MATTHEW FITZPATRICK: Yeah, definitely. The wind sort of changed a little bit as we played, and it certainly picked up in the afternoon. I watched it a little bit this morning, and it was sort of very calm, really, in comparison. I actually heard an interview with Stephen Gallacher, and they said, is this not the easiest you've seen this course play in a long time. Obviously going out there this afternoon with a bit more breeze, it was going to be difficult, but it was nice to sort of come in with a low one.

Q. I know you're very clinical with the way you practise. What have you been working on, and were you able to put the clubs away over the break?
MATTHEW FITZPATRICK: Yeah, I had a couple weeks off without them, but I felt like I had a disappointing season last year really and didn't sort of kick on to where I would want, and hopefully I'll put that right this year. I did put in a lot of work over the winter on a lot of aspects of my game, and so far it's been pretty good. So hopefully I can just keep going.

Q. How important is it for you to get off to a good start this season?
MATTHEW FITZPATRICK: Yeah, definitely. This golf course has been strange to me. I think this is my fifth time. I've had one decent finish, a couple missed cuts. But I do like the golf course. You know, it's tough. You've got to hit fairways, you've got to hit greens, and I think it does suit my game if I'm playing well. So I think it's nice to be able to get off to a good start, and hopefully three more rounds like that would be nice.

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