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November 19, 2009

Thomas Aiken


Q. Thoughts after playing the new course?
THOMAS AIKEN: I got here Sunday, played nine holes Monday, nine holes Tuesday and nine holes Wednesday. I must say it looked like a pretty challenging golf course when I first saw it. And then it definitely proved it today.
It's not easy. It's a course you need to stay very patient on, and it's important to puttyourself in position and stay away from the massive bunkers off the tee, and then it's pretty much a game of iron shots after that. The greens are big, but they are extremely undulating and they are getting quicker every day, so it makes putting quite challenging. You need to putt the ball in the right spot on the greens, otherwise, you could be severely punished.

Q. Is 4-under a just reward?
THOMAS AIKEN: I was happy with it. I hit some really good shots. I hit a few poor ones, but managed to scramble very well today, which was something I've been working on, and was happy with the day all in all.

Q. One blip coming home, but essentially Greg Norman is proud of those closing four holes, and you've enjoyed those?
THOMAS AIKEN: Yeah, I mean, you've got 15, which is actually quite a short par 4, but there's about a hundred bunkers in the hole, so you need to avoid those. Luckily I managed to hit it over.
And 16 is a really challenging par 4. It's got a lot of water around the green on the right-hand side and they stuck the pin down there today, so it makes the second shot really, really difficult. I managed to hit a good one there, too.
17 I was a little disappointed with actually because the pin was in a fairly easy position, and I hit a decent iron shot, but I just misjudged the wind. I thought it was a bit more off the left and it wasn't. I left myself a really difficult shot. Like I was saying earlier, you have to put your irons in the right position or you'll be punished.
Overall, very pleased with the round, good start and try to build on that.

Q. I imagine you are excited to be here, given your position at the start of the year, you might not have expected to be in the season-ending event.
THOMAS AIKEN: Sure. I mean, having limited status this year, it was a little bit of a challenge to get here but fortunately I had a really good start and middle to the season, and then a little bit of injury in the last couple of months has hindered where I would like to have finished. But there's always this week to make that up, and yeah, very happy to be here, as I'm sure are the other 60 players or 59 players.

Q. Injury is fine now?
THOMAS AIKEN: Almost. Still a little bit niggly but it's getting there.

Q. Having not really had a chance to see the course, what is the most difficult element that you have to handle out there? Is it the bunkering or the greens?
THOMAS AIKEN: It's a different golf course than we are used to playing. I think the most challenging thing is that -- if you can call it challenging, is a lot of blind shots are out there.
You need to -- the place that he wants you to hit it in the fairway, you are having a blind second shot to the green, and we don't like that generally because it's difficult to see where you are hitting it. I guess it makes it challenging. But other than that, I think there's a lot of good things about the golf course, too.
The greens are massive. They are extremely undulating, but fair, because you've got -- in one green, you've almost got four greens essentially and four different pin placements. So he's thought that out really well.
The bunkers are deep, but the sand is fantastic. It's the best sand we've played on owl year. They compress it, I can see, I watched them doing it during the practise rounds and makes a big difference, so you don't get balls stuck up in the lips. If you had balls stuck up in these lips, you could be there all day.
There's a lot of good things about the golf course and there are a lot of things that we are not used to. All in all, for a brand new golf course, it's in fantastic condition, and the greens are getting better every day. So looking forward to the rest of the week.

End of FastScripts

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