Q. That round got off to an incredible start, 5 under par through seven holes, what are you thinking and feeling at that point? FLORENTYNA PARKER: Well, I want more birdies, I did the first few holes, I hit it really close and made the putts. It was really fun. Then I had a par spell, and it was getting a bit boring and I wanted a few more birdies. But made birdie on 6, which was nice. Dropped a shot on 8 but was a tricky hole today. No, I’m really happy with my round.
Q. I’ve been doing a bit of digging and I found out you’ve got a cousin who is a golf pro in Dubai, have you been having a bit of sneaky practise? FLORENTYNA PARKER: Yes, I have. He’s a golf pro at Al Badia Golf Club, and I’ve been here for nearly two weeks now practising, because there’s snow at home. So yeah, it was great to be able to practise and get prepared.
Q. Sometimes when a player wins for the first time, they play the way they feel about themselves on Tour and feel more comfortable. How was it for you? FLORENTYNA PARKER: I felt comfortable my first year, but obviously when you win, it gives you more confidence and any time you tee it up, you know you can do it. Yeah, I’ve been feeling really good about this week. I love Dubai and I love the course and yeah, I got off to a great start. That’s what I struggled with last year. I always struggled the first round and was always a few shots behind and now I’m absolutely delighted that I gave myself a good chance.
Q. What’s your philosophy going forward for the next three rounds? FLORENTYNA PARKER: I don’t know, just come off the course. Tomorrow, we’ll see, I don’t know, play the same. I’m playing well, I’m hitting it well, putting well and holed a few nice putts. Just continue the way I’ve been playing.
Q. Being the leader, how is that going to make a difference coming into the second day? FLORENTYNA PARKER: Well we still have three rounds left and so many more shots to be played. Obviously everyone wants to be leading after the first round because that gives you the best opportunity to win, and I’m delighted if I stay in this position or if I’m a shot behind or so; I don’t think it matters at this stage. Tomorrow, I’ll just be playing the same as when I teed it up this morning.
Q. When you look back on the round, what do you think was the key today? FLORENTYNA PARKER: I just had a great start. I just started great and I was hitting it really close to the pin and made the putts, which was also a bonus. You don’t all hole the three, 4 footers, but they went in and I felt really comfortable. Then you’ve had a few birdies and then you think, well, I can birdie every hole, you know. So I started off with two birdies and went to my caddie, only got 16 more to go. No, it just gives you confidence. If you get off to a bad start, you’re always a bit nervous and you worry and how is it going to end. But I felt really good.
Q. How did the course play? FLORENTYNA PARKER: Good. To be honest I thought it was a lot tougher than last year. The fairways are quite narrow and the rough is thick and the greens are solid. So if you are coming from the rough on to the green they are just going to shoot off. So I was quite lucky, I hit a lot of fairways and was able to control the ball on the green.
Q. Playing tough? FLORENTYNA PARKER: Yes. It’s quite long.
Q. And do you feel you can keep the momentum going forward the next three day? FLORENTYNA PARKER: I hope so. Obviously I can’t control what the other players are doing, someone might shoot 62, so that’s up to them. But I’m playing good golf, so I hope I’ll have another steady round tomorrow.
Q. Your cousin? FLORENTYNA PARKER: Matthew Parker.
Q. How long has he been here? FLORENTYNA PARKER: A year now.
Q. How old is he? FLORENTYNA PARKER: 24, he’s three years older. I was in Abu Dhabi a week and then a week with him. Yeah, it’s been good.
Q. Does that give you any sort of advantage? FLORENTYNA PARKER: Well, I think a lot of the players have been here or been in the warm weather because in Europe, at home, most countries, you can’t play. Yeah, obviously I think you have to do it; it’s our job, so we need to prepare. That’s the way I prepare. I love Dubai. I come here very often.
Q. Does he know this course well? FLORENTYNA PARKER: Yeah, he’s played it himself. But my father’s my coach; Matthew’s not my coach. I just feel very comfortable and have a great time whenever I’m in Dubai.
Q. Are you here quite a lot? FLORENTYNA PARKER: Yeah.
Q. How often in the course a year would you be in Dubai? FLORENTYNA PARKER: Five, six times.
Q. 5 under after seven holes, did the idea of course record come to your mind? FLORENTYNA PARKER: To be honest, no. I wouldn’t know what the course record is.
Q. 64, Louise Stahle. FLORENTYNA PARKER: Well, tomorrow.
Q. 4 under, happy with it? MARIA VERCHENOVA: Oh, yeah, sure. I think I’m lying second now.
Q. So what’s the goal here for the week? MARIA VERCHENOVA: You know, I mean it’s one of the weeks where I’ve got to stay kind of positive. I didn’t have a good season, but coming back, you know, thinking positive, working with a new coach, so it’s very good.
Q. So this week, you could keep your card, right? MARIA VERCHENOVA: Yeah, it’s one of those weeks where I’ve got to get I think Top 20 to keep my card, or I’ve got to go back to Qualifying School. But I’m not thinking about that, so I’m just playing.
Q. So what is the you said you had a difficult year. Maybe go over the year and what was different about today. MARIA VERCHENOVA: It’s not just today. I think it’s just the last two months, I was playing quite good, and I had good weeks, I had good result. And I just you know, I think it’s just all how I’m thinking and how I’m approaching the game.
Q. So today, what would you say was key with getting that 4 under today? MARIA VERCHENOVA: Like the first ten holes, I was like, I was having pars and pars and I had chances for birdies, but I didn’t make them. And it was just to stay patient and you know, kind of like my caddie was really calming me down because I really wanted to have a birdie and said, don’t worry, it will come. And I started making some.
Q. You birdied the last? MARIA VERCHENOVA: Yes.
Q. How did that feel? MARIA VERCHENOVA: Obviously strong finish is really good always. I had I think two years ago, I had the same, I had two birdies in the last two. And I think the last two holes are quite difficult, so very happy with that.
Q. So you’re not thinking about that Top 20 finish but obviously it must be weighing over you somewhat? MARIA VERCHENOVA: No, that’s why I’m not thinking about it. Just going forward it, playing a good game, and if it’s going in, it’s going in, and if it’s not going in, it’s not, that’s all.
Q. A strong finish must put you in a good mind set and frame of mind for tomorrow I would imagine? MARIA VERCHENOVA: You know, it’s still three days to go so it’s hard to say. Obviously it’s good that I have a good round today.
Q. Did you get an impression of how the course might play at certain stages tomorrow, whether it was conducive in the afternoon or the morning? MARIA VERCHENOVA: You know, I’ve been playing here for the last four years so sometimes it gets really windy, and I love windy weather and sometimes it’s quiet. I don’t really mind.
Q. Can you sum up your season, the year you’ve just had? MARIA VERCHENOVA: It was a little hard because I’ve had a few injuries and I went back to Q School and I made it, so I can’t really say a lot about it.
Q. What were your injuries? MARIA VERCHENOVA: Lower back at the German Open and then I hurt my wrist.
Q. How are you feeling now physically? MARIA VERCHENOVA: Very well. I’ve been working back in the gym. I was very ill after India but I recovered, I was taking it easy. I was more working on my mind than my golf. It’s really, really nice that ‘golf in DUBAi’ invited me and I’m really thankful for that.
Q. That was an eventful day on the golf course, what is the verdict overall? MICHELLE WIE: I’m just happy to be done. I thought that I played pretty good, hopefully make a couple more putts out there tomorrow and not have a 7 on the card.
Q. Having made a 7 and 8, all champions have the ability to bounce back at the last, how did you do that? How did you reset and put it behind you? MICHELLE WIE: I was pretty mad. I was like, I can’t believe that just happened. But things happen on the golf course and all you can do is get mad for a little bit and move forward. So thankfully I got it together on the last hole and made birdie.
Q. Saw you in a fair amount of discomfort a few times, you winced a few times, the injury is obviously a problem for you. How big a factor was it today? MICHELLE WIE: You know, I’m glad to be done. I’m just going to go out there and just grind out tomorrow.
Q. How will you spend your afternoon? MICHELLE WIE: Studying, unfortunately.
Q. Talk us through the eagle and then the triple bogey. MICHELLE WIE: I hit 3 wood and 6 iron to nine feet. And then hit it left into the tree, took unplayable, dropped the ball, plugged in the sand and then I hit a 52 out and then I hit like a pitching wedge left of the green, didn’t make it up and down.
Q. And then the other birdies? MICHELLE WIE: I hit a 3 wood and then a pitching wedge and about a 12 foot putt. 15, I hit a 6 iron and about a 30 foot putt. 17, I hit a 3 wood and then pitching wedge left and then didn’t make it up and down. 18, 3 wood, 5 iron and then lob wedge.
Q. Maybe you can talk a little more about the round, you had an eagle early on and then the triple bogeys, a little bit of a roller coaster? MICHELLE WIE: I grinded it out today, just went out there and tried to play the best I could and glad to be done right now, and just going to go out there and grind it out tomorrow.
Q. 3 under, you were up there, second place and then to have the triple bogey, that must have been disappointing, how did you feel coming off that? MICHELLE WIE: I was pretty pissed coming off the last hole, but felt good to make birdie and at least be in red numbers, but hopefully tomorrow and the rest of the weekend I won’t have that.
Q. How did you feel out there? Has the back been what’s bothering you? MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I’m just happy to be done. This morning, I didn’t know if I could play or not, so I’m glad that I got through today, and three more rounds and I think just feeling good. At least the weather is warm. It’s beautiful out here and it’s just fun playing out there. So it’s good that I got through today, get some rest tomorrow, have an afternoon tee time, so it will be good.
Q. 1 under, does that keep you in the running in the weekend? MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, for sure I definitely have to do better tomorrow, hopefully make a lot more putts and get a couple shots closer. If I just improve throughout the weekend.
Q. What were some things you felt good about and what were some things you struggled with? MICHELLE WIE: I think over all I just kind of plodded down the fairway, tried to get on the green, just need to get a little bit closer to the hole and have shorter putts in. But aside from that, just have to make more birdies.
Q. A 69 today, how satisfied are you with your performance? JULIETA GRANADA: Very satisfied. I started really good, the first three holes I started 2 under and I was like, all right. But then because of the jet lag I went on a down and I wanted to sleep. It was good that I kept eating and drinking and then in the back nine, my body was cooperating with me, so that was nice.
Q. And how are you feeling now? JULIETA GRANADA: I’m feeling good. I’ll probably crash in a couple minutes, but I’m happy with the round. I stayed tough today. It was just mentally so tiring. But I’m happy.
Q. It’s been a hectic couple of weeks for you, you’ve been in Florida, did well there and now in Dubai. So what are your hopes here for the tournament? JULIETA GRANADA: Well I’ve been playing well the last couple months, so I just want to continue playing consistently good, and just keep shooting under par. And who knows what will happen Sunday. But right now, I’m feeling very good with my game.
Q. Anything that’s working particularly well for you? JULIETA GRANADA: You know, today I putted well, and the shots that I hit good, I made the putts, so it’s just a little bit of both, a little bit of the combination. So, I’m happy.
Q. Just to follow up, in terms of the round today, what were the high points? Were there some holes that you really look back on and were happy with the birdies, or maybe talk a little bit about the round itself? JULIETA GRANADA: Yeah, I birdied 2 and 3 and then I bogeyed 4 and 25. So you know, and then I bogeyed 9. I 3 putted. Then the back nine, I just said, you know, let’s just keep hitting greens, let’s hit more greens on the back nine and maybe the putts will drop. And I birdied 11 and then I birdied 15, 16 and 17. So I just gave myself more chances on the back nine and therefore my putts could work for me.
Q. With three birdies on the back nine, that must have felt good? JULIETA GRANADA: It felt great. I was hoping for four in a row. It felt really good.
Q. Your thoughts on the course, how it played today. JULIETA GRANADA: Well, you know, it played different than last year. It’s much softer with the drives and the second shots. So it took a little bit of adjusting for my mind. Last year it played so dry, sort of visualizing that. It took me a couple of holes to figure out that I could actually hit more at the pins and that the ball will stop.
Q. What do you think will be the key to winning here? JULIETA GRANADA: It’s a tough course. You have to be on with everything. You can’t hide it out here. So you have to be driving it well. And you have to make some putts. You know, the greens are rolling perfect, so as long as you get a good read, you know, people are going to be making lots of putts.
Q. Clearly not the round you were hoping for, was it a question of lack of sleep and nothing in the tank? LAURA DAVIES: Well, yeah, because we felt a bit rough yesterday I didn’t play particularly well, and so I was hoping for a good night’s sleep. And then get a phone call at one o’clock this morning and unfortunately could not go back to sleep. You do not like to make excuses, but from the word go, we were in trouble here. And did really well to shoot level on the front, and then made a ridiculous double bogey on 10 and then it was a real struggle. And to be honest, 3 over is not a bad effort.
Q. Concentration obviously the main difficulty when you’re feeling tired? LAURA DAVIES: Yeah, just a lot of travelling, it caught up with me. I’m not as young as I used to be. That phone call was a nightmare really and that really put us behind the 8 ball. You can never give up. I know I’m eight behind that and six behind second. It’s not the end of the world, yet. We’ll see how we go tomorrow. Have to shoot 5 or 6 under the next three days, every day, so that’s what I’ve got to try and do.
Q. I loved the way you played the 18th hole: You just take it by the throat and strangle it. I was comparing you to Phil Mickelson. He said to me earlier in the year that he thinks the reason he’s won so many golf tournaments is he takes chances. Yes, he loses tournaments because of it sometimes, but he wins many more times. Do you feel the same way? LAURA DAVIES: That’s exactly the same way. I’ve lost tournaments in the past and probably people have criticised me for it, but at the end of the day, shots like that win you tournaments. And Phil is exactly right. His biggest letdown was obviously that U.S. Open; maybe once should have played safer. On a hole like that, if you are long enough, I actually didn’t think I hit a particularly good drive. Actually had to hit a provisional, hit that worse than I hit if the first one but I had carried the tree and it was in perfect position. Only had a 9 iron in there. It is sort of a risky tee shot but the reward is too big not to go for it.
Q. Think there’s a low one out there for you tomorrow? LAURA DAVIES: Yeah, I just touch wood, I cannot play that badly again. I hit two good shots today and that’s just not in good enough, when you’re in contention, not just trying to win a wig major tournament but trying to win the Money List, that is very disappointing. Sleep or no sleep, that was unfortunately.