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January 24, 2020

Eddie Pepperell

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Q. You told us yesterday you were proud of the 69 you put together. Give us the verdict on today's 67.
EDDIE PEPPERELL: Good. I felt more calm today, I would say. Actually I would tend to feel more calm as the week goes on at tournaments. So I was happy with how I was feeling early and I got off to a nice start really and, yeah, for the most part it was very, very good until the cameras came along. I must have been concerned with how I was looking, because then I started struggling.

Q. 74, just over 74 yesterday stroke average for the field. Today it's under 72. Just tell us about how the course is playing today compared to yesterday.
EDDIE PEPPERELL: It's just not as windy. Very little breeze, to be fair. And it's still firm and fast and the rough's still very long. So if the wind gets up I would expect to see some high scores still this afternoon. It wasn't easy, in spite of lack of breeze. So, yeah, you got to hit fairways, as simple as that. If you're not hitting fairways this week you're, bogeys are inevitable at some point, so that really is the key I would say.

Q. Yesterday you said that you had returned to an old drill that you used to use and you had about 2,000 reps since last Friday, the feel was good. Is it more about feel for you than actually swing thoughts?
EDDIE PEPPERELL: Absolutely, I've played with swing feels for a few years and I have a couple of drills that have given me some quite strong ones and that's where I've had a lot of success, to be honest. It might look very technical with me but believe it or not in my mind it doesn't feel that way, at least certainly when I'm doing pretty good, because it's all about feeling. And particularly a transition feel and I'm sure you know what that's like as a golfer and you want to have that feel in transition. So for me it's a drill that I'm just basically trying to get my arms to work up behind me and then rotate through with my hips, because I've had a problem lately where my body's been a bit over shot than my arms have been, so, but basically I'm just trying to get out of my old habit and, yeah, it's given me some good thoughts in the past. And coming in I saw a little bit of what I might expect to see if I get a little under it, so I'm going to spend the afternoon going through a few again and hopefully put me in a good place for the weekend and the putter feels good as well.

Q. You mentioned the putter. Obviously, you talked yesterday about the fact that you've been inspired by Lee Westwood's performance to try the claw grip and it worked very well. How quickly does the confidence return when you start to see a few go in?
EDDIE PEPPERELL: Yeah, surprisingly fast. Even with such a different grip, there was a couple of smelly putts coming in there, the one on 7 and 8, even though 8 was kind of two and a half feet it was still left to right, so when you're going through a bit of a change those are the ones that can feel a bit tricky as as you know.

So, but I think it's, I think the setup -- my girlfriend and my dad walked around and they had not seen me grip it and I think it took them a few holes to realize what I was doing, which is a great sign and it means that it looks somewhat natural despite though you're not feeling it. And if I can putt like my dad even to have my dad here this weekend then I'll be all right. I'll be getting the putter out from 60 yards and I might even hole a couple.

Q. Your caddie Nick was carrying a chocolate orange that I think a spectator had given you. I would expect you're going to go off and devour that.
EDDIE PEPPERELL: Well she actually brought me a dark one so she shouldn't have had that one though.

Q. Second round 67 here. Two shots better than yesterday, a reflection of the weather conditions and how the course is playing or how well you're doing around the greens?
EDDIE PEPPERELL: Yeah, it definitely was less breezy, it was definitely less breezy this morning, which was nice, because this place is definitely tough. But beyond that it's still the same. The course is very firm and fast still and the rough is thick so you got to play well. And I did play really well. What you would have seen on TV is me not playing great, but before that point I was playing really quite well. So, yeah, my game, for the most part, was really good and a couple of nice scrambles coming in and it did feel like a bit of a grind. But, yeah, everything seems to be in pretty good shape.

Q. Unfortunately we didn't get to see the best of your golf today, but certainly saw your scorecard. We have seen you've taken a bit of inspiration with the claw grip. Is this coming from Lee's win last week?
EDDIE PEPPERELL: A bit of that for sure and a bit of Tommy as well. I chatted with Tommy and his caddie about it. And, you know, when I looked at my putting in the past I've always felt that when I look at my setup I've never looked that comfortable and I think regardless of what your hands are doing on the grip, great putters tend to look quite comfortably. So that's one thing I've never liked about my setup and I think when I set this way I look more comfortable which in my mind and I think in the viewer's mind should be more confident. And it just allows me to do a couple of key things with the putter, I think. Get a bit more on the inside which I've had a hard time doing in the past and just putt from there. So it's been very good the past two days and I've been surprised with how good it's been. If I can keep doing that over the weekend with what I've been doing with the swing I think I'm going to make plenty of birdies which would be great.

Q. As it stands your name's at the top of the leaderboard. Last time you were leading going into 36 holes you walked away with the British Masters title. Are you comfortable being in this position or do you like being a few behind?
EDDIE PEPPERELL: I like it now. I think Qatar was a big thing for me and then the British Masters also, I felt quite comfortable that week, surprisingly so maybe, actually. And having done what I did there, even though it was a little while ago. And last year I felt very comfortable when I did get up there in contention. So no, it's where I want to be. I think me and Mick as a team out there as well do all the right things to make me quite difficult to beat if I'm in that position. So that's something that I've enjoyed in the past and I'll keep on doing it and I would hope that that would be the same this weekend. But it will be a great test for me this weekend because this is a golf course where I would say that the primary aspect that has to be on is the driver. And on a golf course like this that has historically not been my strength. So if I can go and drive it well this weekend then I might drink myself a few next Monday, we'll see.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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