Justin Rose has plenty of experience leading the Masters Tournament after the first round.
On Thursday, the Englishman opened with a pair of birdies en route to 2-under-par 70. He’s not leading, but he did achieve his game plan of not losing the event.
“I’ve led it three times after the first round which has come to no avail,” Rose said. “You can never win on day one. You can only lose it.”
The No. 3 player in the world, Rose is seeking his first major win. He’s gotten off to a fast start this season on the PGA Tour, posting three top-10 finishes in three stroke-play events he’s played – all in March. Rose, who placed second to Tiger Woods in the Arnold Palmer Championship three weeks ago, said one encouraging sign is he’s improved his position from the third round to the final round in each event this year.
“I feel like I came here and didn’t have to try extra hard,” Rose said. “I feel like if I just do what I’ve been doing I’m going to put myself in contention. Hopefully, I just continue to play solid golf.”
Rose opened the Masters with a wedge to three feet for a birdie at No. 1. He followed with a two-putt birdie from 30 feet at the second hole before making what he called an “unforced error” on No. 3 when an errant 5-iron off the tee led to bogey.
Averaging 309 yards off the tee, Rose hit 13 greens in regulation. He missed the 18th green after pushing his drive into the trees, but Rose recovered with a 15-foot par putt on the final hole.
“I drove the ball really well today until the final few holes,” Rose said. “I didn’t really make anything. I was really solid just holing out around the cup.”
The 32-year-old Rose, who led after the first round of the Masters in 2004, 2007 and 2008, owns two top-10 finishes in Augusta since 2007. Last year, he opened with three consecutive rounds of 72 and tied for eighth place, finishing six shots out of first.
“There’s always something about this place,” Rose said. “You arrive here and it gives you energy. I always feel comfortable on the golf course.”