Justin Rose declared himself “proud” of another good recovery at the Masters as he retained his overnight lead following a tough second day at Augusta National.
Rose was two over after seven holes on day one before an eagle at the eighth turned his fortunes around, and he added seven birdies to fire an astonishing 65 which earned him a four-shot lead.
But the Englishman again stuttered in the early stages of his second round, with four bogeys over the first seven holes as his lead was wiped out by prospective Ryder Cup team-mate Bernd Wiesberger.
Rose had a few words with himself as he headed up the long eighth and steadied the ship with two good pars to remain three over for the day at the turn, and while his scoring on the back nine was nowhere near as spectacular as Thursday, he was delighted to pick up three shots in four holes from the 13th to get back to where he started the day – seven under.
“I think it was just a classic day at Augusta National when you’re just slightly off,” said Rose. “You can be a foot or two out on certain occasions and you end up struggling. I think maybe off the back of yesterday, it starts to feel pretty different pretty quickly.
“But, again, I kind of told myself going up the eighth hole, ‘you’re leading the Masters, your frame of reference is a little bit different to yesterday. Four ahead is something, but you’re still leading so like just enjoy it and keep going’. And I was able to do that.
“I felt like the turning point for me was a good two-putt on the ninth just to stop the rot and just to feel like I could then just walk onto the back nine and try to build something fresh and something new. I actually started to play pretty well from that point onwards.
“My mindset today was to be free, to go out there and play as free of golf as I could because I felt that having the opportunity to play with a lead from day one could play in my favour come Sunday. You get used to it. Obviously the scorecard didn’t reflect that mindset, but it was still a good exercise for me to stick with today.
“I felt like I actually did a pretty good job with that. I had a lot of tough four-foot putts today, even to save bogeys as well as to save pars. And I really kept the momentum going on the front nine, even though the scorecard wouldn’t reflect that.
“I felt there were some key moments in that front nine where I was pretty proud of myself for just keeping things ticking forward.”
Rose admitted his confidence was not 100 per cent having not played any tournament golf since pulling out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a back injury, but he is looking forward to utilising his experience around Augusta to maintain his challenge for a first Green Jacket over the weekend.
“I think it was a worthwhile day for me,” he added. “And not having played for a month, and to suddenly find yourself in the situation I was yesterday, I’m not kind of brimming with confidence right now in that sense. So today was always going to be a challenging day. I felt like in the end, I felt like I grew a little bit from today, which is good.”
Rose also revealed he imagined himself in a match play contest against the course over the back nine as he dug deep to get back on an even keel.
“I scratched a line on my scorecard and told myself I was three down and could I go ahead and beat the golf course from that point on,” he said. “I had a putt on 18 to win my match 1up, but unfortunately it just slipped by. But it was an honourable draw!”
The Masters – Live
April 10, 2021, 4:00pm
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