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January 30, 2020

Henrik Stenson

King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia

Q. 5-under par 65, give us your thoughts on that one?
HENRIK STENSON: That was some good putting. I contributed most of it to the putting today. Still a struggle off the tee at times and the rough is pretty thick. Had to scramble well on a couple of holes, but the approach shots that were close I converted into birdies and kept it together nicely, so very pleased with that.

Q. Tremendous two-putt at the last from long range. The speed of the greens, did you have it from early on?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, putting was good all day long. I made the ones you want to and a couple of other ones, and then a lot of good two-putts, because I certainly wasn't close that many times. Yeah, good pace on the greens and rolled it good.

Q. You lived in Dubai for a number of years, a similar environment to this. Is that knowledge valuable when you come to this sort of golf course?
HENRIK STENSON: Not really. I think this golf course is a lot different compared to the ones we played in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and Qatar over the years. Paspalum, different grass, but it's still kind of desert style. When you miss it badly, you're kind of out in the desert, and certainly tried that once or twice, as well. Maybe a little bit, but all in all, just a good opening round.

Q. You're hosting the Scandinavian Mixed later in the year with Annika. Tell us about the format because it's really a new one for the European Tour?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah it's going to be a lot of fun. It's 78 boys and 78 girls fighting it out for one trophy, one prize fund.

Yeah, I think we're going to have a lot of fun with that. It's great for golf back home. We haven't had a ladies tournament for a few years, so to be able to combine it all and have the pleasure of doing it together with Annika, as well, so I'm really looking forward to the week.

Q. How well did you play for a first round 65?
HENRIK STENSON: I certainly putted well. I was solid on the greens. I hit three or four approach shots really close and took advantage of those ones, and those are the only ones where I didn't have good birdie chances. It was a lot of fighting and a lot of scrambling and some really good two-putts and chip shots around the greens. Probably the scorecard is a little tidier than I feel I played out there today.

Q. Did you have to stay patient?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I think you've always got to stay patient when you're out there playing golf, but I was just trying to be the best I could at each one of the shots out there. I guess when you have a good attitude and a good short game to rely on, you can post a nice score, even though you don't feel you play your best.

Q. Give us a sense of the conditions out there this morning?
HENRIK STENSON: It was very calm. I feel the same last year. I played early last year and I didn't really take advantage of the first round and then on Friday afternoon, it really started pumping. You know, it's the same in the Pro-Am yesterday. There's a big difference compared to playing in the morning, so you really want to try and make extra, extra birdies as a cushion there. Yeah, it's going to be a tougher round of golf tomorrow than this one for sure.

Q. How are the greens?
HENRIK STENSON: The greens are rolling much better this year. They are quicker, more top-dressed and not as grainy, so I think everyone's happy with the improvements on the greens. You feel like you're more used to the conditions that we're playing here this week than maybe the ones we had last year.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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