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March 27, 2019

Henrik Stenson

Austin, Texas

Q. It was such a difficult match with Phil Mickelson. It was one of the premiere matches I thought of the opening day, and you handled completing things on the 17th green. Tell me about the match.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, you could say it wasn't maybe the most well-played match from either one of us, but still some good golf in there. I was pretty happy with my performance today. I hit some really nice iron shots and made a couple of important putts, as well. Kept it going. Phil is always worth the price of admission. He hit some fabulous short-game shots on three or four moles holes. He's in some areas where you just can't get up and down, and he's Phil Mickelson and he gets it up and down. So that's always tough to compete against.

Q. I thought the 6-foot birdie you made at 15 was one of the key putts of the entire match. Puts you 2-up with three to play.
HENRIK STENSON: It was. I hit a poor shot into 14 and again Phil made up and down, made it look very easy. He won that one. Then I came back and got it to 2-up and then I had some issues there with my pitching, a little indecisive what shot to play maybe on 16. And he got up and down again from a difficult spot. And coming up 17, here, yeah, I was -- it was lucky for me he hit a poor shot and I had a good one and the match was over.

Q. Talk about the importance of winning that first match here on day one.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, of course, even though it is not a knockout anymore and we're playing pool play, I mean, I don't know what the numbers are showing. You guys know that better than I do in terms of how easy it is to go through. If you lose your first match, it's probably not a high percentage. It is important to get a good spot. I'm in a tough group, we all know that. Up against some really good names, even though no matter which group you're in, it's the top 64 players in the world, there's not going to be any easy matches or easy opponents out there.

So sometimes it can almost make it easier in a way when you're up against some really top-class players, because you know you've got to bring your best game. I'm happy.

I think it was one of the better rounds I've played all year out there today against Phil and managed to get the better of him. And, yeah, that feels good.

Q. Was there a key momentum swing in the match?
HENRIK STENSON: There were a couple of times when I could have eased off a little bit. He made an unbelievable up-and-down on 9. I said in the previous interview, he's worth the price of admission three times over. Some of the short-game shots Phil is hitting is unbelievable. You can never, in a match-play situation, you can never count him out. You know he's going to make up and down, it makes it easy for you mentally. It's like, yeah, he's got his four no matter where he's at. So I better make it three if I want to minute it or make it four to half. So you've just got to get on with it.

He made a good putt on 9 to stay 2-down, and then I had a good chance on 10. And 12 in particular he hit it in the water but again made a great up-and-down from the front edge of the green for par. And I had about an 8-footer for birdie, something like that, and it just snuck by. That could've been one where I went 3-up.

And he missed the chance on the next. And then I kind of gave 14 away. And came back with a good birdie on 15. So there were some swings back and forth on the back nine. I didn't feel like it felt very easy to win the match, even though I was one or 2-up most of the way around.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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