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May 9, 2019

Lee Westwood

Matt Wallace

Hillside, Southport, England

Q. When we chatted going down 12, you were very pleased with the start you had and the continued play. How do you feel about 66 at the end of the day? Good start?
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, it's a great start. You know, I haven't played a lot recently. I've played two tournaments in three months, and one of them was the Match Play. Always going to be a bit rusty, but didn't come out like I was rusty. Yeah, obviously when you turn up to a golf course you like and you play well and you enjoy playing, that makes a big difference.

And the wind wasn't too strong and you know, I holed a few putts early on and I got my scoring going. I felt like I had a bit of momentum.

MATT WALLACE: I haven't started like that in a while. The hard work's paid off and looking forward to the rest of the week now.

Q. Wonderful recovery shot on 15 at the edge of the bunker. Describe that to us.
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, I was worried about it off the tee, you know, because that's right on the lip and might carry in these kind of conditions. I got up there and didn't have much of a stance and stuck it right back in the back of the stance. You have to use your imagination. Not the first time I've been in a lie like that. Just put it down and basically just ball ground and it's going to come out low, and probably have a lot of turn on it. Back in the stance more, it's going to hook farther forward.

Q. How much do you enjoy playing alongside a legend like this?
MATT WALLACE: I still pinch myself, really, waking up that I'm going to go play with him. Just signing the card and I'm sitting next to Lee, still gives me a bit of chills. But we've played enough times together now and like the start -- back in the day, that start that he had might have flustered me a bit.

But I've learnt better that it's going to be a long week and we both got off to a great start. Hopefully we can do that again on Sunday.

Q. You haven't had the busiest playing schedule but six birdies in the first seven holes, did you imagine yourself getting off to that start?
LEE WESTWOOD: Not really. I just said I've played two tournaments in three months so I expected to come out and be a bit rusty. Made six birdies in the first seven holes and missed another one from eight feet. It was a real good day and I really enjoyed it. It was nice to get back on the golf course and play competitively.

Q. A little birdie tells me you were spectating at Anfield. Did that give you some inspiration for today?
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, it was impressive stuff. Yeah, I was lucky enough to go on Tuesday night, and I saw him play last Saturday. I saw them play against Newcastle last Saturday night as well. Watched them twice and scored seven goals. They are obviously playing well. It inspired me a bit today.

Q. You certainly gave the fans a good run for their money. You had that fantastic hook from the bunker-side lip. We almost saw the first hole-in-one, as well. What did it look like from the tee?
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, I thought that was going in. It was a good yardage for me, 230 yards into the wind, 2-iron, pitched it short. Thought for one minute it was going in. That would have been nice. A shame it didn't go in. A shame I didn't hole the put. It was a great shot. Never left the flag.

Q. Greg Norman quoted this course as having the best back nine in Great Britain. How did you find this course in total?
LEE WESTWOOD: He's right, the back nine is slightly better than the front nine. It's just the back nine is so spectacular playing through all of the valleys. It reminds me of Birkdale. It's a fantastic golf course in its own right. It's somewhere I've always enjoyed playing. We used to come to Southport for holidays and play, and Hillside was the one I always remember and enjoyed playing the most.

Q. You have a great history with this tournament, hosted it recently. Has Tommy come to you asking for any advice?
LEE WESTWOOD: No, no, he's -- The European Tour do a good job of leading the host through it, getting to the right places at the right times and that really helped with the hosting.

So no, if he came and asked, then I would tell him to enjoy the week and not do too much and be ready to play on Thursday, which he obviously was because he had a nice 68, as well.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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