#MMO Rd 1 What They Said

Thu 05 Feb 2015

#MMO Rd 1 What They Said

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Lee Westwood (Eng) – First Round 66 (-6)
Q: Good start?
A: Yeah really good, I’ll take that. I putted very nicely and started the ball on line well. I left a couple short in the middle when I was fooled by the grain, but overall I’m very happy. It’s probably the toughest I’ve ever seen this golf course play.
Q: Is it similar to last year?
A: It’s in very similar condition. The wind just made it that little bit harder – not the fact it’s blowing particularly hard, but that it’s changing direction. It gets very confusing.
Q: I gather the fairways are playing very soft, but are the greens firmer?
A: The greens are very good. The fairways are soft, so that’s why we’re playing preferred lies.
Q: Do you always sing to yourself as you walk to the first tee?
A: Always. I’m always very happy and have a tune ready. It’s usually whatever Billy’s singing in the morning and we stay with that all day.
Graeme McDowell (Nir) – First Round 66 (-6)
Q: Hugely satisfied with round 1?
A: Very hot! I’m pretty happy. I hit the ball great today, drove it well and gave myself a lot of looks for birdie. I had a few that didn’t go in and holed a couple of longer ones. I had one mistake from the middle of the fairway. I lost my concentration for a second, which is very easy to do in this heat. Generally I’m very, very happy with that start. I’ve enjoyed the way this golf course looks from the start and I enjoyed playing it this morning with good company from the boys. It’s a solid start.
Q: You said you fancied your chances given the previous winners here?
A: Yeah I think so. It’s tough to pinpoint what you have to do right on this course because you have to do everything right. You have to drive it well, hit your irons well, and chipping and putting around the greens is tough as well. It really is kind of an all-round golf course, and the guys who have won round here – Lee Westwood, Thongchai Jaidee and Ryan Moore on the PGA Tour – are good all-round players. I think when I’m on I’m one of those players as well. There are a lot of good players on the leaderboard and there’s a long way to go. It’s about conserving energy here to save something for the weekend.
Q: Would you say everything about your game is on, given that it’s only your second event of the year?
A: I would. I was fairly happy with the way everything looked coming into the new year. I did a lot of work off the course over the winter improving some things physically and in my swing, and things seem to be clicking really well. It’s early days, but I’m feeling relaxed and my attitude’s good, too. If I can continue that for the rest of the year then good things will happen.
Q: How do you combat the heat?
A: This morning I was really just trying to keep my emotions in check and not over-react to any mistakes I made. It really is too hot to get mad out there, so you have to keep your emotions under control and obviously stay hydrated and cool and try to embrace it. When you get in you have to try to conserve – it’s not a week where you’re going to do a lot of grinding on your golf swing. Thankfully I got plenty of work done in Dubai last week and the game is in good shape, so I can just relax and prepare for the weekend.
Lee Westwood of England Lee Westwood of England
Danny Chia (Mas) – First round 67 (-5)
That must have felt good?
The putter got hot on the back nine and I started making some putts and started to hit better on the back nine. Scored quite well today
Swinging it well?
Not on the front nine. Maybe the nerves got to me a bit. I got agitated with the way I was hitting the ball but after I made birdie on my 11th hole (on the 2nd) I started to hit it much better.
What clicked?
It was really nothing. It was the mind playing tricks on me. In the practice rounds, I didn’t hit it well and I was just thinking too much on the mechanics of my swing. I then just told myself to just go out and play golf. Drop some putts and you’ll make some score.
This must bring back good memories?
Yeah, I’m just trying to take it one shot at a time and focus on the present. What ever comes tomorrow, I’ll just take up the challenge.
Happy with the form coming into the week?
I can’t ask for more. Won one at the start of the year and hitting the ball good. A lot of good things have been happening with my game. I worked on my putting with my coach Steven on Sunday before coming into the week and I’ve been putting solid.
Talk us through those four birdies?
Seven iron to eight feet on two, pulled drive left on three and hit a five wood short of the green and pitched it to six feet, on four I holed a bomb. I didn’t think I would get there. On fifth, I hit my third to two feet and on seven, I had a difficult second shot but hit it 30 feet short of the pin and made that too.
How’s your hand?
To be exact, I’ve not recovered fully according to my physio. But I’m happy. I can hit the ball although it’s not as long as it used to be. I’m doing a lot of rehab. I’m happy with the progress.
Prom Meesawat of Thaiand Prom Meesawat of Thaiand
What can you learn from your past experiences when you contended?
I think it’s just experience. I’m not as nervous as before and I think it makes a big difference.
After a start like this, what will your mindset be for the rest of the week?
Still the same, as I say, one shot at a time. Fairways and greens and try to make birdies. Try to make it simple. I guess this has come from experience!
Prom Meesawat (Tha) – First Round 68 (-4)
The course is playing very difficult. It is tough to control the ball on the greens and it was very windy. It is a good opening round. I always try to find the fairways as much as I can here. You must be patient here.
I’ve played here many times and I know which holes are difficult. I know where I need to play for par and where I should attack. This is a tough course.
This is my second tournament for 2015 but my first for the Asian Tour. It is a very good opening round so I will play my best this week.
I had two tap in birdies but the last hole was the best putt for today! I didn’t think I would hole that putt because it was downhill. I had the correct speed on my putt and it made a big turn and went in! It was a good finish.
Nicholas Fung (Mas) – First round 71 (-1)
Give your assessment?
Everything worked well. Putted great and hit it good. Made two mistakes on 16 and 17 but overall I’m still happy with my game. I was targeting five birdies but got only four. Hopefully six tomorrow.
Bogeyed 15 by missing a short putt. Putts on 11, 12 and 13 were good. 12 was a very good par as my drive was all the way to the left and I just chipped out. But I hit a good third shot for a given par.
Made some silly mistakes on seven and eight. Made a wrong decision on seven. The pin was back left and my caddie told me to go middle of the green which would be an easy putt from there. But I went for it as I was swinging it good but pushed it so far right that I didn’t have a stance and then I had to make a 15 foot putt for bogey. On eight, I hit it over the green and missed the putt.
I was too safe today. Starting from the back nine, I played it safe and was more aggressive on the front nine. Hopefully it’ll be better tomorrow.
After making the cut last year, did it help give you a boost for this week?
Nicholas Fung of Malaysia Nicholas Fung of Malaysia
I have no pressure this week. I’ve played so many times on the course and after making the cut for the first time last year, I just told myself to out and play and hopefully make it better than last year.
Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) First Round 67 (-5)
Q: That was a very nice way to start this championship.
A: Yes it was perfect actually. I played very steadily and it was nice to hole a few putts. I holed a long one on the eighth – my 17th – to get in on five under, so it was the perfect first round.
Q: How long was that putt?
A: It was about 35 feet. It was a strange one because Paul had just knocked his tee shot over the back so I took a club less, but it got nowhere near. Once the wind started swirling today it got really tricky, so this afternoon anything better than par will be a great score. It’s nice to get in early with a good score.
Q: We’re playing the tournament a bit earlier in the year than usual – do you feel a difference?
A: It’s definitely a bit cooler. It’s not been too bad – we’re all surviving so far. It has made a difference, the two months or whatever it is, and if it stays like this I think we’ll all be very grateful.
Q: Did you survive the wake-up call? You must’ve been here in the dark this morning?
A: Yep, just about. It’s amazing how late it gets light. It’s not light until about 7.20, 7.30, so a 7.40 first tee time is pushing it.
Q: Are you feeling good about your game?
Anirban Lahiri of India Anirban Lahiri of India
A: Yeah definitely. Golf’s strange – you never know when it’s going to turn up and when it’s going to disappear again. Today I hit the ball really nicely, which was good because so far this year my first rounds have been terrible. To put a good first one in feels really nice, so hopefully I can push on from here.
Anirban Lahiri (Ind) – First round 70 (-2)
I’m quite disappointed. It is not often that you should two-under on this golf course and you feel bad. It was disaster coming in because I played really good. One bad shot and I lost my focussed and couldn’t hole any putts.
I hit it into the greenside trap on the par five sixth hole. Hit a bad bunker shot and got unlucky because the ball kicked forward and went into the water. Oh the next hole, I made a bad swing and missed a short putt.
I should have built on the round. I missed way too many putts. The way I hit it today, I should have hit a five or six-under but I let it slip away from it. I need to stay a bit more patient. I tried to push it a bit harder and I lost some focus.
I’m playing really well and I’m coming into this week with a lot of confidence and positivity after working on my game. In that sense, I’m quite disappointed with how I played today.
I’m not rusty. I was rusty three weeks back. I changed my practice routing in the last couple of weeks. Usually I don’t play a lot of golf but I played three rounds of golf back-to-back and that’s something which I don’t normally do in my off-season. I wanted to get back into the groove of playing 18 holes and maintaining my focus over 18 holes.
I’m feeling good and positive but I have to put my poor finish behind me and play similar golf.