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February 20, 2008

Henrik Stenson


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Henrik, thank you for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at the Accenture Match Play Championship.
HENRIK STENSON: I just managed to make it up the hill.
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Talk about you, you came out with a fast start and then --
HENRIK STENSON: Kind of a slow finish?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, definitely. I birdied 1 and 2, I was 1-up. I even won the third. And then got in the desert on the 4th, and I was 1-up.
I made good birdies on 6, 7, 8, solid putting. And then went to 4-up. And after 10 I was still 4-up.
Then 11 he made a birdie. Both missed chances on 12. Then I won 13 on par.
And then he made a good birdie on 14 and then started to hit a couple of bad shots and missed it in the wrong place. He put pressure on me by hitting both approaches really close, that he was like six, eight feet away on both of them. I sort of felt I had to try and go for it. But I guess concentration and focus wasn't there and I'm sort of feeling still a little bit tired from that heavy last week. And I guess that doesn't help the focus in the end, there.
I hit a couple of wayward shots and managed to pull myself together on 17 and hit a good 2-iron to just past the green and two-putted for birdie to halve that one, go 1-up. Still 1-up on 18 and then just hit a pull, low, scabby, amateur shot on 18 --

Q. Pamela would have been proud of that, wouldn't she?
HENRIK STENSON: Possibly. At least it had some momentum forward. And I just had a bit of a déjà-vu from last year against Nick O'Hern, and I chipped the ball back on the fairway and just hit a great shot when it really matters with a 7-iron to about three feet. And Robert just missed his chip for birdie and I made my three-footer for par to win the match.

Q. Where did that ball wind up? From TV it looked like it embedded in a cactus. Did it just scoot through?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, it just went through. It was actually sort of on the -- just on the gravel. But I had no swing to go -- to try and go for the green. I could have had a long shot to try to get it up there. So it was just to convince myself to try to chip it back on the fairway and try to make the up-and-down and I managed to pull it off and it feels great.

Q. Were you thinking extra holes as soon as that ball left your club?
HENRIK STENSON: Definitely, at that stage. Then I could chip it out, at least. I thought if I give myself a 10-footer, 15-footer or whatever for par, at least I'll have a chance on the last green. And with that good 7-iron I made it a little bit easier.

Q. Do players necessarily have to have a match like this to get through one, to go far?
HENRIK STENSON: I don't know. I mean, you know what match play is like, and, yeah, of course I'm happy to have made it through to the second round now. If I can play a little bit better and finish a little bit better, I think my heart would appreciate that.

Q. Refresh me on Nick last year. You hit it to like a foot, didn't you, after coming out of the desert?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, but then I hit the driver off the tee and at least had a bit of club on it, so I only had a pitching wedge for my third that time and hit it about two feet and made my par on 18 when we were all square.
It's kind of funny when we were looking back at the matches, I was down against Zach on the first round and turned that around and some of those matches were really tight. So when you look back at it, it's kind of funny.

Q. Could you compare your form where you are now as to where you were last year at this time coming into this tournament in general?
HENRIK STENSON: Since I always -- I came off a win, and I still played good in the desert this year, but being sick for two weeks is not really going to help your form. But I'm still very pleased with the way I managed to play the first 12 or 13 holes, considering that Monday was the first time I hit balls for two weeks, basically.

Q. Were you able to get a round yesterday?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I played a round yesterday. I felt good yesterday, but I think I had a long day yesterday and that sort of took its toll a little bit. If I felt energetic yesterday morning and then throughout the day. That wasn't exactly the same today.

Q. Was your illness diagnosed specifically?
HENRIK STENSON: No, first I had a cold for a week and then I had a really bad stomach bug. The body has had its fair share.

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