Match-play mindset helps revive leader Justin


England's Justin Rose chips onto the 2nd green. - filepic

ONCE Justin Rose shook off a miserable start and reminded himself he was still leading, the 40-year-old Englishman was able to play well enough to stay ahead.

The reigning Olympic champion birdied three of the last six holes on Friday after making bogeys on four of the first seven and held a one-shot lead after 36 holes.

“The finger was heading towards the panic button a little bit, ” Rose admitted.

Rose, whose only Major win was the 2013 US Open, opened Thursday with a 65 for a four-stroke lead, only to see it shrink to a single shot as he walked up the eighth fairway.

That’s when he decided to shift to a match-play mindset.

“I started to take the leaderboard out of it and I felt really good out there on the back nine. It was a solid round of golf, ” Rose said.

“I had a little talk with myself on eight and said you’re still leading the Masters and started to play match play against the golf course.

“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.”

Rose didn’t beat the famed layout, but he put up enough of a fight in a draw to stay ahead of all those pesky stroke-play rivals, his par 72 putting him on seven-under 137, one ahead of Americans Brian Harman and Will Zalatoris.

“Had a putt on 18 to win my match 1-up, but unfortunately it just slipped by, ” Rose said. “But an honourable draw.”

The two-time Masters runner-up, a heartbreak playoff loser to Sergio Garcia in 2017, said he was better off for the struggle and fightback.

“I felt like I grew a little bit from today, which is good, ” Rose said. “It was a worthwhile day for me.” — AFP

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