#UBSHKOpen Rd 1: What they said

Thu 22 Oct 2015

#UBSHKOpen Rd 1: What they said

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Hong Kong, October 22: Read what leading contenders have to say following their opening round at the UBS Hong Kong Open on Thursday.
Lu Wei-chih (Tpe), Six-under-par 64
Q. Thoughts on the great start?
WEI-CHI LU: First few holes, I was just trying to get into the flow, but after that, started playing really well, and very comfortable today.
Q. And are you comfortable on this golf course? You seem to be.
WEI-CHI LU: The last couple years, I played well on Fanling. I really like this course and I hope I will get some better results the rest of the week.
Q. Does this mean you've learned how to play this traditional-style course?
WEI-CHI LU: My home course in Taipei is Taiwan Country Club. It's very similar to Fanling. Both are tree-lined, traditional golf courses, and I really enjoy Fanling.
Q. Please put this round into context: How well have you been playing?
WEI-CHI LU: For the last two years, because of my brain tumor surgery, I can only play two events and then have to rest. But this is my sixth week, so this is very much a challenge for me; the longest stretch since my surgery.
Andrea Pavan (Ita), Six-under-par 64
Q. What are your thoughts on 6-under to start?
ANDREA PAVAN: Yeah, it's a great round of golf. I can't complain. This golf course, it's not very long, but it's tricky. So just one bogey out there, and made a few saves. But towards the end, I hit some lovely irons and obviously converted a few chances for birdies. So that was very good.
Q. It's not usually a course we would associate with a long hitter doing particularly well but I take it, you've put the ball in the right positions?
ANDREA PAVAN: Yes, it's all about hitting fairways and giving yourself good chances, because the greens are small. And if you're missing fairways, then you're going to struggle to hit it close. It's tough to make birdies.
So you're always struggling to save pars, pretty much on every course, but this one especially with the rough and the greens that are firming up. I think since Tuesday, the course is playing a little firmer and a little shorter, as well. I think tomorrow and the weekend, it's going to firm up, as long as it doesn't rain.
You know, it's going to be a lot of -- not many drivers off the tee but into the greens, you really have to shape your irons and just be patient on the greens. Obviously today was good on the greens but it's all about waiting for the putts to drop.
Q. What was your attitude coming into this week given your lowly position on The Race to Dubai?
ANDREA PAVAN: This year has been a struggle to say the least. I'm just trying to big deep and really look forward to every week. Obviously this is the last of the year, and then I'm looking to go to Q-School. So it's all about just giving myself chances.
So, you know, here, I'm just really trying to get my game in better shape. It's good on the range. I still feel like I'm lacking a bit of confidence. Today I've managed to play very well for about 15 holes and then I had the occasional bad shot.
So today I got away with it a couple times. It's all about just waiting. I know I have what it takes. It's been tough last year and this year, but it's all a learning curve and I really hope I can make the next step soon.
Justin Rose (Eng), Five-under-par 65
Q. What are your thoughts starting on 5-under par?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, really happy with the start. More happy with how I played today. Really happy with how I swung the club, struck the ball, how patient I played. Good strategy out there, and got to grips with the golf course, really, for the first time.
So yeah, all in all a very good day.
Q. Strategy means putting the ball in the right place, giving yourselves the opportunities?
JUSTIN ROSE: Exactly, and I hit a lot of 3-irons off the tee today and struck all of them well and put myself in position. Hit a lot more fairways today than in the Pro-Am, so felt a different course.
I was able to get some momentum with my iron play, and actually hit a lot of good putts today that didn't go in. Felt like there were more chances out there but very happy to take the ones I did.
Q. Spoke to you at The Open Championship when you clarified that you would be coming here. Been looking forward to it? Is it one of those special places?
JUSTIN ROSE: Very much so. It's great to have UBS back on board and it's a quality tournament. It's one of my favourite cities in the world, so a great place to be. It's also a good golf course. It's a unique golf course compared to some of the other ones that we play in China which are more of the modern-style courses. It's a really fun track to play.
Q. And you've had a little chance to look around now, because you had a corporate day didn't you, before, and had the opportunity to see some other things.
JUSTIN ROSE: I had to kill a weekend here in Hong Kong, so obviously got up to no good and had a few drinks and had a good time and saw a bit of the other side of the city that we often don't get a chance to when we are focused playing tournaments. But it's obviously a very vibrant place, good food and good restaurants and looking forward to coming back.
Q. That does help in the enjoyment of the place, doesn't it. It makes you think of the fun times when coming back. It's a sort of aid to the confidence, if you like?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, absolutely. I think I always enjoy tournaments where we're able to stay in a city. So often, especially playing on the PGA TOUR, you're out in the suburbs and you might be so-called playing a tournament in Chicago, for example, but you don't really get to see downtown Chicago the whole week because you're 40, 50 minutes outside.
This week, I enjoy staying downtown and get to sort of get a feel for the place you're in.
Q. As you're a good mate and teammate, what are your thoughts on Ian Poulter and his arrival here late in the day?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, obviously a Herculean effort. I think he was battling passport visas and all sorts of crazy stuff. I noticed he was kind of trying to have matchsticks in his eyes on the back nine. I don't know what did he finish up at -- 3-under? That's a good day's work. I actually had breakfast with him at the hotel this morning and was hearing all about it. I know he's been up since 4.00am, so that's a very good round of golf.
Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind), Five-under-par 65
Q. Tell us about 5-under par, how good a start is that?
JEEV MILKHA SINGH: I think I needed this kind of start this week and I'm going to give it my hundred percent like I do every week and hopefully this is my week.
Q. European Tour-wise, we haven't seen you up there for a little while, so it is good, isn't it?
JEEV MILKHA SINGH: It is great to be back on the leaderboard and gives me a lot of confidence. I'm glad that I'm putting myself in the right position and hopefully keep going like this from here, and move onto better things.
Q. We've seen how hard you work. Is it down to that application and paying dividends at last?
JEEV MILKHA SINGH: Injuries are much better and I'm working hard and my confidence is coming back. I think that's the most important thing. In this game, I think the trust and the confidence comes back, and you start putting the numbers on the board, and then you get comfortable and then you move on from there. I'm in that process right now and I'm feeling good.
Q. Are there particular things you haven't been able to trust?
JEEV MILKHA SINGH: Yes, my driver, especially, and it's become much better. I've got a new driver now in the bag, and I'm hitting the ball much better. I think it's much easier when you get the ball in play off the tee, and then move on from there. So it's happening more often and I think that's why the numbers are coming up.
Q. Does it help when you return to such a familiar circuit as this?
JEEV MILKHA SINGH: For sure. I think it's a fantastic golf course, a demanding golf course. But a lot of imagination required and a lot of feel required. It's not a bomber's course, but an old, traditional golf course where you have to shape the ball ask have a lot of feel in your hands.
Q. Is there a good feel, as it's free for people to come in today.
JEEV MILKHA SINGH: Yes, I think the golf course is in excellent condition. The wind is a little tough because it's swirling, but I think if you just stick to the main wind, I think you'll be fine.
Q. Good support, as well, from people who might not have seen golf or the golf course before?
JEEV MILKHA SINGH: For sure, there were a lot of people out here today, and I think it's great to see the crowds come out. It's good for the game, and especially for the Asian players and also the top players who have come to play from Europe and the U.S. I think it's a treat for these people.