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February 2, 2008

Henrik Stenson


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Well played again. Tell us about the day. You're in a great position for going into tomorrow.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, obviously we're happy with that. I was two after Ernie last year and now I'm one behind. I don't know if that's a good omen or not.
No, I'm looking forward to tomorrow. It's always hard to defend a title and I think especially this one will be hard. I'm very happy with the job I'm doing so far, so I'm proud of that, and just looking forward and hopefully I can go out and play a solid round again.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Have you defended before?
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Another goal you could achieve tomorrow.
HENRIK STENSON: Absolutely. That would be fantastic but still a long way to go. And as I said earlier in the week, it's all about positioning yourself and hopefully being a couple of shots into the lead, going into the back nine, give yourself chances to win tournaments, and at least so far, I'm in with a good chance.

Q. Would you rather be leading by one shot, or be behind by one shot going into the final day?
HENRIK STENSON: Always lead, always.

Q. Third week in a row for chasing in 2008. Third time, you think?
HENRIK STENSON: I hope so. I mean, what can I say. I've gone out and scored some good golf these last couple of weeks. I told you before, I was fighting the long game quite a bit in Abu Dhabi and did some good stuff to get it to where I got it, and played more solid in Qatar and then just a bit of both. It was some good tee balls today. I hit the driver pretty good today and then, you know, there's a couple of iron shots that maybe wasn't as sharp as I would have liked, so the putter wasn't quite that hot either.
So overall it's fairly stable and keep giving myself chances and making a lot of pars and a few birdies. So got off to a flying start. I could probably have been 4- or 5-under through the first, three, four holes.
I mean, it's good to have a spell like that, and then just grinding away, really.

Q. Can you just describe the first two holes for you today?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I hit a really good tee ball on the first with a 3-wood and came up and had quite a bit of mud on the ball. I think the second shot on it flew a bit funny and then just ended up short right of the green. Pitched it in the hole from about 15 metres.
Hit a great drive down the second in the rough and hit it over the green, just an average pitch in and rolled it in from probably four metres or something like that.
Hit a real smacker down the third, I think it was 360 yards on the stats, and I left my 6-iron into the pin and 20-footer something like that, 25-footer, pretty slick and ended up three inches, or an inch short on-line, so it was good stuff early on.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: What's the longest you've hit it?
HENRIK STENSON: I don't know, that was probably down the runway in Abu Dhabi last year, 793.
No, 360, 370, probably somewhere around that. Sometimes we play the hole really elevated high up and down winds and firm fairways and it can go forever really, but that was definitely one of the longer drives.

Q. What will be the key tomorrow?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, got to go out there and play solid. Ernie, he shot 7-under today, and so I mean, he's obviously looking to do something similar tomorrow and walk away with a tournament.
So I've just got to try and keep up with him and hopefully put some pressure on him with some good golf. It's always hard to tell with the conditions tomorrow and what you need sometimes, as we know from last week, you need to go silly low to have a chance and other times you might need to just play stable.
Even though Ernie is on 11 and I'm on 10, it's still very bunched up behind us. It seems like a lot of guys are at 7-, 8-under, and if any of them gets going like Adam did last week, have to hire away in the last match.

Q. You had ten birdies in the Pro-Am on Wednesday; is there another one out there tomorrow?
HENRIK STENSON: It's always tougher to do it in competition and with the pins normally easier in the Pro-Ams but I think I made ten birdies in the Pro-Am. So I would be happening with doing eight of them tomorrow. I could even leave two out I think.

Q. You can't get away from Ernie in, this tournament, four rounds last year?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, three rounds this year. No, it's good, I like it. He's good company and also it's very good to play with such a good player because he would -- he's not going to hold back, so that means that there's no chance for me to do the same. So hopefully we can push each other on in the last match and do some good things.

Q. Do you feed off each other when you're making birdies?
HENRIK STENSON: I think definitely. That's the case, if two guys get going, and I mean, it was the same last week when Adam got going, I felt that I need to fire on all cylinders. I mean, even if you try every time to do that, it's still slightly different when you see somebody take off. You know, you'd better just do whatever you can to try and keep up.
And he takes off in a 645 BMW, so it's hard to catch up.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Henrik, good luck tomorrow.

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