Justin Rose has been to Augusta enough times to know how the greens tempt a golfer, how balls break more than one would expect.
Therefore, the educated Rose, back in the world’s top 10, spent a chunk of his preparation time Monday at the practice area, specifically around the bunkers.
“That’s what’s tested the most here,” Rose said about the short game. “The conditions are more extreme around the greens this week than virtually every other week. They do some tricks in the bunkers to make it a little harder to spin the ball, the way they cut the grass and trim the grass around the greens ... it’s pretty difficult.”
Rose had six three-putt greens in last year’s Masters. By comparison, champion Charl Schwartzel had just two.
Rose still tied for 11th with his 5-under total. Rose even had one of the best final rounds in the field, carding a 68. Only four other golfers had a better Sunday.
Rose’s finish was his best since 2007, when he came in fifth.
“I’m always super excited to get back,” said Rose, 31, who will be playing in his seventh Masters. “You get back onto the grounds and it’s beginning to feel familiar. I’ve been here a few times, but it never gets boring. You still get that buzz, the excitement about the place. I think it’s the most enjoyable three practice days of the year, for sure.”
Rose arrives in Augusta with confidence after his win at the WGC-Cadillac Championship in March, when he edged Bubba Watson by a stroke. It was Rose’s first World Golf Championship victory and his fourth on the PGA Tour.
Besides providing those milestones, the win jumped Rose back into the top 10 in the World Golf Ranking. He is at No. 9.
Rose is also seven-for-seven in making cuts this year, with four top-25 finishes, as he hunts his first green jacket.
“Golf’s good right now,” Rose said. “I had a nice long run of golf coming into this week. After a week off last week, I feel a little bit fresher and hopefully can challenge again.”