|Quick player interviews with Shanshan Feng, Florentyna Parker, Klara Spilkova, Anne-Lise Caudal, Felicity Johnson, Caroline Masson, Carlota Ciganda and Lexi Thompson after their opening rounds.|
Q. Could you give us a summary of your round, how did you play first of all?
SHANSHAN FENG: I think it's my first time for this tournament, and it's my sponsor's tournament, so I came with pressure, actually. Before the round, I told myself on the driving range, I said, I have to be patient, whether I'm playing well or not. And I was patient because I was only 1‑under through seven holes. I missed a lot of chances. But I had quite a come back, so finished with 6‑under and really happy about that.
Q. What changed during the round if you didn't start so well? What made the difference on the back nine?
SHANSHAN FENG: I would say my iron shots weren't as accurate on the front. But I started to do well since the eighth hole. I made like a 15‑foot putt and starting from there, I was doing really well.
Q. When you arrived as the highest‑ranked player in the tournament, do you expect to win? Is that the goal when you start out on day one?
SHANSHAN FENG: Like I said, I came with pressure, so I was just ‑‑ my goal was just Top‑5. I wasn't thinking about, you know, too much like about winning or not. But you know, I'm going to try my best on every shot.
Q. Were you expecting to come out and play that well on day one here?
FLORENTYNA PARKER: Well, I've always had a good first round here and I love the course, I love Dubai. I've been out here for two months, and I feel really good. Had a great start.
Q. A little birdie told me that you have a relationship with Dubai. Can you just elaborate on that? I think some of your family spent time here?
FLORENTYNA PARKER: I have a cousin who is the pro at Al Badia Golf Club so I've been here the last two months practicing before China, after China, and so I spent a lot of time here in Dubai.
Q. And how did it help playing alongside Shanshan? Did that drag you along, if you like?
FLORENTYNA PARKER: We had a fantastic group, I think we were like 16‑under par all together so we all played really well and had loads of birdies and it was a really enjoyable group.
Q. What did you do particularly well?
FLORENTYNA PARKER: My putting was really good today. I hit 14 greens, had 26 putts, so I rolled them in nicely and yeah, got off to a good start and had one bogey. It was good.
Q. Obviously it's a strong field here but how confident are you of reproducing the next three days?
FLORENTYNA PARKER: I've all done well on this course and I enjoy it and I feel so comfortable here. Yeah, my chances are quite good.
Q. I think it was last year or the year before, you were up at the top of the leaderboard, did that give you confidence heading in that you've done it before?
FLORENTYNA PARKER: The last two years, I've finished ninth and fourth, so I do usually do well on this course. It suits me. Yeah, I feel very comfortable here. I've been here two months, and it's like home and I know the course really well.
Q. Do you think you can go ninth, fourth, do you think top three?
FLORENTYNA PARKER: Yeah, my aim is always Top‑5 is always good and the field gets stronger each year. So a Top‑10, Top‑5 is always good here. Yeah, I started off nicely, I think this is my lowest round on this course, so yeah, I'm starting off in a great position.
Q. And sustaining it through?
FLORENTYNA PARKER: Yeah, obviously we have three more days and you never know what happens in golf. But I'm hoping just to keep on playing like I have and finish the season quite well so far. Hopefully a few more good rounds.
Q. What about the conditions, how did you find them? Obviously you'll know what it's like out here?
FLORENTYNA PARKER: I mean, the course is in good condition, and you know, the greens are perfect, the course is good and the scoring is quite low this year for the first round, the rough is not as high as it normally is, that might be it. Might be pretty similar.
Q. Tomorrow you'll get an earlier tee off time; that an opportunity for people like yourself to make a move?
FLORENTYNA PARKER: It will be nice to stay in the rhythm, so a quick turnover, so it's good.
Q. Who is your caddie?
FLORENTYNA PARKER: My brother, Ben.
Q. Who is here from your family?
FLORENTYNA PARKER: Everyone, my mum and dad, my cousin who obviously lives here, a few group‑s.
Q. Is your brother from England?
FLORENTYNA PARKER: Yeah.
Q. And he's older than you?
FLORENTYNA PARKER: He is, he's on The Challenge Tour.
Q. What's his name?
FLORENTYNA PARKER: Ben.
Q. Just a general assessment of your round today?
KLARA SPILKOVA: Actually I played really good. I had five birdies and was very, very solid, so I'm so happy. It was a good game, yeah.
Q. When you are preparing for this week, did you feel like you were playing this kind of golf or was it a surprise today?
KLARA SPILKOVA: No, I think I just played this golf before in India, so I think it's going to be very nice.
Q. How does this course suit your game? Is it somewhere you enjoy coming to and enjoying playing in Dubai?
KLARA SPILKOVA: Yeah, I enjoy this golf course, it suits my style. The greens are very nice, very good roll. So I made very nice birdies and very good putts.
Q. After thinking about what you did today and thinking about the next three days, do you feel confident that you can stay towards the top of the leaderboard?
KLARA SPILKOVA: I really hope so, because I played really good, so I think it will be nice tomorrow and the next day.
Q. Obviously you made an awful lot of par saves and birdies. That must give you confidence heading into tomorrow.
KLARA SPILKOVA: Yeah, I hope so, because my year wasn't so good. So I really want to finish good, so hopefully it will be good.
Q. What was it about your year that didn't go to plan?
KLARA SPILKOVA: I had a few cuts, I think it was half and half. I missed a cut and then made it. So I really want to finish good, because I a little bit need to.
Q. What was the key to the round for you? What made you not have any bogeys?
KLARA SPILKOVA: I was just happy and at this point you have to feel good and stay with this feel and go for it. Just keep going, yeah.
Q. What was your target coming into this weekend?
KLARA SPILKOVA: I really want to finish, I don't know, Top‑10, it's going to be nice.
Q. Next week, do you have any plans?
KLARA SPILKOVA: Next week?
Q. Your birthday?
KLARA SPILKOVA: Yeah, I don't want to play Q‑School.
Q. So you may go to Morocco but hopefully not?
KLARA SPILKOVA: Yeah.
Q. So you have to finish Top‑10 to avoid Q‑School?
KLARA SPILKOVA: No, I think more. Just after this round, I want to finish better. And then I will celebrate my birthday, my 18th birthday.
Q. How do you think it went? Happy with it?
CAROLINE MASSON: Yeah, happy with it. 4‑under is a good score, I'm just a couple behind I think. Played well, made just one stupid mistake today, hit it in the water on 9 and made a few birdies and hit a few good shots so quite happy with that.
It's just about not getting too far behind I think, and then, I don't know, when I get used to the time and everything, I feel like I maybe might feel a little more like comfortable on the course, and so that was a great start, yeah.
Q. The Money List coming into your mind?
CAROLINE MASSON: Not really, just out there and trying your best. I think it's about, you try to whip this tournament, and everything else, you can't really ‑‑ I mean, you don't know what's going to happen, how the others play. So it's just about my game and playing well and just try to finish up and see what happens. I'm the one who has to shoot low and finish well, so it's really just about my game this week.
Q. Assessment of your day?
ANNE‑LISE CAUDAL: I missed only four greens, so I'm quite happy with my day.
Q. Is this a place you enjoy coming to and a course you enjoy playing on, and does it suit your game, as well?
ANNE‑LISE CAUDAL: Yeah, it's very nice. The golf course, it's always in good condition, and then the weather is pretty nice, as well. So yeah, we enjoy to come here.
Q. You're getting more and more experience of being towards the top of the leaderboard, particularly in the last couple of years. Does it feel comfortable now? It's a good start to the week for you?
ANNE‑LISE CAUDAL: Yeah, of course, I'm feeling more comfortable every week and every year with the experience. So I hope I'm going to do well this week.
Q. It's a tough week, obviously there are quite a few big players here; do you still feel confident that you can stay up there this weekend?
ANNE‑LISE CAUDAL: Yeah, of course, I have to stay focused on my game and not to think too much about the result or the score. But I think it's a good chance for us to have these good players playing this week. So, yeah, I'm going to try to do my best and to be on the top on Sunday ‑‑ Saturday, sorry.
Q. How was it out there?
FELICITY JOHNSON: Very nice, actually, I like the temperature.
Q. Just first of all, give us a general assessment of the round, what you did well and what you're pleased with?
FELICITY JOHNSON: Yeah, I hit the ball really good. I hit 16 out of 18 greens, so long game in great shape. Gave myself some good chances on the greens, which I converted a lot of, but three 3‑putts was a bit disappointing but overall I'm very happy.
Q. You're coming into this off the back of getting your card in the States. Does that help you when you arrive, does that help the confidence?
FELICITY JOHNSON: Definitely, I played great for five rounds last week, so it was a long, tiring week, which I'm glad it's done and dusted now.
But yeah, coming here, it's given me a lot of confidence, so I went out there today, just try to enjoy it, which I did and played some good golf which helped.
Q. Does it feel like you've accomplished one big job, so it's less pressure this week?
FELICITY JOHNSON: Yeah, definitely. From right at the start of the season, I decided I was going to go to Q‑School in the states this year, so that was the whole year for me ‑‑ so to go there and play well and get my card comfortably was really pleasing.
So now I can come here and enjoy it, and I think if you enjoy your golf, that helps it a lot.
Q. Taking into consideration the quality of the field here, do you still feel like you can do some damage?
FELICITY JOHNSON: Yeah, exactly, I'm just trying to enjoy it, which I am at the moment. I'm hitting the ball great so if I can get the putts rolling, which happened today, there's no reason why I can't go out and win this week.
Q. What was the condition of the course like?
FELICITY JOHNSON: As good as always out there. Couple little changes around the greens, just growing in the fringe a little bit, so the greens are a little bit smaller. But Craig and his team have done a great job as always.
Q. And the fairways, is there much roll out there?
FELICITY JOHNSON: Not a whole heap, it's a bit softer out there which suits me being a long hitter. But yeah, it's target golf out there which I enjoy, so go out there and aim at the flags and have a good time.
Q. After the build up, how was it out there on the course?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: I played good today, 2‑under to start the tournament. I made a birdie on the 8th hole with a par, so 1‑under on the front nine, and then made a birdie on 13 and bogeyed 14 with 3‑putts and then finished with a birdie so at the end, 2‑under, and I played well. I hit fairway, lots of greens, but I need to try to hit them closer tomorrow.
Q. How do you approach the week, because you're so close to winning the Order of Merit. Do you approach it like a normal tournament and try to win the tournament, or are you watching what Caroline is doing?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: No, just try to play my game and try to do what I know and what I can. I love to play golf and just trying to stay in the present and hit every shot at one time, and I mean, today she played great and I'm happy for her, and then tomorrow is another day, so we try to play our best tomorrow.
Q. First of all, let's just go back a day or two. What did it feel like coming back to Dubai and how were you feeling about your game when you arrived?
LEXI THOMPSON: Felt great to come back to Dubai. Been looking forward to this event for a few months now. Brought back great memories walking up the 18th green and all. I practiced really hard coming into this event because I wanted to defend.
Q. How do you feel that your game has moved on in the last year, you're obviously very young; has it developed much in that time?
LEXI THOMPSON: It definitely has, I worked on a lot of things, a lot of short game practice, so just trying to tighten up my game and focus on spots that needed to be worked on.
Q. Are you relatively pleased with the score today?
LEXI THOMPSON: I am. I could have dropped a few more putts, I had a lot of lip‑outs out there but 3‑under through the first round, I'll take it. So stay around there, shoot a few more, I think I'll be in good position.
Q. How do you approach tomorrow? Are there specific things that you would like to do better out there than you did this afternoon?
LEXI THOMPSON: Just see a few more putts drop probably. I had some good strokes out there and that's all you can do, just unlucky sometimes. Hopefully a few of them drop.
Q. Happy with the start?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, I am. I didn't drop as many putts as I wanted to, like I said, but I hit a few squirrely tee shots, but that happens. It's golf.
I just had a few lip‑outs, but like I said, they were good strokes and that's really all you can do is commit to the line and put a good stroke on it, and if it's a bad read, it's a bad read.
I'm only three back right now so just keep on shooting under par, 4‑ or 5‑under, and that will put me in good position for the weekend.
Q. Is the golf course different from last year?
LEXI THOMPSON: Well, I heard they didn't overseed it, so it's just not as green, but greens are in pretty good shape, rolling good, pretty fast actually. It's always in good shape, it has been every year, so I always look forward to playing.
Q. Is it harder to tee off later in the morning? Tomorrow obviously you have an earlier tee‑off time, can that be to your advantage?
LEXI THOMPSON: I think it will probably be a little less wind. Actually calmed down towards the end today. Probably be good sleeping‑wise because I woke up really early this morning. I like playing in the morning, getting up, and ready to go tee off early.
Q. Scoring today ‑‑
LEXI THOMPSON: I would have thought it would be around 5‑ or 6‑under. I see that out here. There's a lot of 4‑unders and that's pretty much the whole leaderboard out there. You can score well on this golf course. There are some birdie holes that you can take advantage of.
Q. Last year you got 15‑under to win, 3‑under, three rounds to go, it's not inconceivable you could get there or even better?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, I definitely think I can do it.