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November 6, 2008

Henrik Stenson


CALVIN KOH: Thanks for coming down today. Despite the weather and cold conditions out there, you're setting the pace and you had a good round today.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I'm very pleased with that. I haven't been playing great lately and I'm still struggling a little bit, especially with the longer clubs, but hit a lot of 3-woods out there today and kept the ball in play and really made some good stuff from there on. Hit some good approaches and made some great putts over these 18 holes.
CALVIN KOH: What would you say would be the shot or highlight of the day for you.
HENRIK STENSON: It was definitely on the second hole, my 3-wood into the green. I started really poorly with a bogey on the first, and then hit a 3-wood to probably about six feet, six, seven feet on the second, and made that one for eagle and that kind of got me started.
Then hit it stiff on No. 3 with a sand iron and made some good putts on 4 and 5, so kind of bogey, eagle, birdie, birdie, birdie and that got me going again.

Q. Are there days when golf seems very easy, and was this one of them?
HENRIK STENSON: Not particularly. As I said, I made some good approaches, and I made some great putts. I mean, it was good. I made my score on or around the greens today for sure, and no, it has felt easier at times. I'm very pleased with the scoring and keeping it together. It's a very good start and hopefully can build a little bit on it.

Q. Except for 2, can you go through your birdies?
HENRIK STENSON: As I said, the eagle putt, had a tap-in from just a foot on the third.
Then it was probably about a 15-footer on both 4 and 5.
Then a 6-, 7-footer on 8.
Then it was a 4-, 5-footer on 16, and a good 20-footer on 18.
So I was rolling it good on the greens. I think it was more of being able to shoot a really good score without playing good, and as I said, I've been struggling a little bit over the last couple of tournaments, and it's easy to get a little bit low then and start trying to fix yourself on the course.
Today I was more in a scoring mode and got the job done and sometimes that can be more pleasing when you actually can shoot 7-under par without playing great.

Q. Were there times that you couldn't see half your shots, just disappearing into the mist, and did it worry you?
HENRIK STENSON: No, I was going with 3-wood, so that made it a little bit easier, taking a few yards off the tee shots.
When we came up on 16, we did not see more than sort of the contours of the greens, and I mean, that's -- I don't know if 270, or 280 to the front of the green, but it was pretty hard to see at times, yeah. Thought there would have been a fog delay, or a smog delay.

Q. Today obviously was the first round of the 2009 European Tour season, and The Race to Dubai and all that entails; is that something that excites you and something the players are all talking about?
HENRIK STENSON: Absolutely it's been a lot of focus on that, and yeah, I'm very excited and I'm well connected down in Dubai. I've been up having a look at Jumeirah Golf Estates, and it looks fabulous, the course. I've always enjoyed playing down there, and I've played well. So for me, it's a good spot to have the year-ending final.
No, I think everybody is excited for the upcoming season.

Q. Does it feel like the end of the season or start of the season?
HENRIK STENSON: Both. (Laughing).

Q. Is it quite strange for you?
HENRIK STENSON: No, we've been used to that for the last couple of years. But of course to have the Volvo Masters as the final last week, and then the HSBC Champions as the first one week after, it's obviously not a long break, more than a couple of days. But I think it works out fine. Everybody is making up their own schedules, and that's been one of the things I've been happy with this year. I paced myself better and played less, and I have a few tournaments here at the end and I should hopefully have a bit of steam left to give in these events.

Q. How is the rain affecting the course and what do you think of Sheshan International Golf Club?
HENRIK STENSON: This is a golf course that I really like and this is the fourth time that I've played this event now.
Yeah, the course plays a little bit softer this year, but the greens are a bit more lush and the rough is a little bit thicker in a few places I think. The course played good, and it doesn't make it a whole lot different.

Q. I notice that a lot of -- would you change your strategy on the fairways?
HENRIK STENSON: No, I just think if it rains, then the course becomes even softer. There's obviously a few holes where you can possibly attack the pin a little bit more because the ball is going to stop quicker. But then again, you always know on a few of the holes there that if you miss it on the wrong side, it's big trouble. So still got to be a bit careful. When it's playing soft, you can always shoot for the pins a little bit more.
CALVIN KOH: Thanks a lot and good luck tomorrow.

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