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January 23, 2020

Eddie Pepperell

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Q. An opening round of 69, 3-under par. Sum it up for us?
EDDIE PEPPERELL: That was good. It was the toughest I've ever seen this course play, and I watched the coverage earlier on. I watched you speak to Joost, actually, earlier on, and it's a difficult day. Rough is very, very thick and greens are firm and fast, and you've just got to, frankly, flush it, and if you don't, you're in trouble. I did a pretty good job of that after a start. It was a bit ropey to begin with. I wasn't surprised at that because I made a few changes this week.

Q. One of the changes, going to the claw grip. Tell us about that?
EDDIE PEPPERELL: Yeah, inspired a little from Lee. I must say, I've been struggling with the greens. I've never been a good putter on Tour, but for me, it's about not being a terrible putter. My good results tend to come when I'm just not horrific on the greens, especially inside five feet.

So I was watching the golf last Sunday and I couldn't believe how comfortable Lee looked on the short putts, especially. I thought, I might as well give this a try. I was very good today inside six, eight feet. So I'm optimistic. Best I've putted for a while.

Q. Other changes?
EDDIE PEPPERELL: Last year was a funny year for me. I've gone back to doing the drill that I did for a couple of years, and I've done probably a couple of thousand since Friday in Abu Dhabi, and it's given me a strong swing feel. When I've played well in the past, I've had that same swing feel.

I think knowing that and the putter today was good for me, considering I'm usually horrific on Thursdays, as well. I hope we get better from here.

Q. It's been an interesting day to watch that scoreboard, people going up-and-down. How have you found it out there with your opening 69?
EDDIE PEPPERELL: Yeah, I'm really happy with that. It was clear early on it was going to be very, very challenging. It's the toughest I've ever seen this course play by a long way. The rough is brutally thick and the greens are very firm and fast. If you're not in the fairways, you've got probably no chance.

I drove the ball pretty well for the most part and I did a lot of things really well and I holed a lot of nice par putts to begin with and holed out nicely for my birdie coming in. I played a good round of golf today and proud of that, if you know my record on Thursday, but it was I imagine fun to watch. The course has gone from being a 5-under cut to, I suspect, being a couple-over cut.

Q. Beginning of the season, a lot of guys are trying to find momentum and rhythm back and you have some new sticks in the bag, coming through the way you did today, obviously something you'd be very happy with?
EDDIE PEPPERELL: Yeah, listen, really, since I've tested with them, I've loved them. I think that if I start swing the club well, I think they will be really, really good for me. I have just haven't been swinging it well. The last couple of events, end of last year have been poor. At least I didn't run out of balls today.

Q. Congratulations for your hole-in-one early in the week. Unfortunately we didn't get it on camera, and of course a happy belated birthday to you. These things come in threes. Did you get a chance to celebrate yesterday?
EDDIE PEPPERELL: Yeah, me and my girlfriend had a nice kiss.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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