-6 Friday opener gives Dell Technologies lead to Rose
Norton, MA- For the second consecutive week, a FedEx Cup event opened with a tight leaderboard. Unlike The Northern Trust, though, the Dell Technologies began it’s weekend with a single man atop the board.
Justin Rose entered Friday in curious position. The 38 year old Johannesburg born, Hook, Hampshire, raised golfer has enjoyed an exceptional year. He’s got nine top 10 performances, two victories, and a runner-up performance at The Open under his belt. However, missed the cut at his last tournament, The Northern Trust last week. Instead of feeling bad, he decided to fly home, where he spent six days. He also did not take part in the pro-am on Thursday. He arrived that night for an event with sponsors and played the round somewhat cold turkey. He’s played this event every year of its existence, so he’s familiar with the course; despite some mixed results.
Rose finished third in 2003, highlighted by a 63 on the opening round. He added a fourth place finish three years later. He’s also missed the cut four times and ended the 2016 edition with a 79 round. Today was a boom day, reminiscent of 2003 and 2006.
He hit 83.33% of greens in regulation and recorded a 64.29% driving accuracy mark. He did narrowly miss a number of long birdie putts, but did not record a bogey for the entire day. A great bunker shot on 4 and an excellent approach from off the green on 7 netted his two birdies on the front nine. The back saw four more birdies, including the final two consecutively. Rose finished with a 65 for -6, his best score at this tournament since carding a 63 in 2013’s second round.
“I looked at the pins last night, and I thought there was an opportunity to make some birdies. The pins were in accessible places. I felt it clearly was trickier than I thought last night. It was windier today, a cool breeze, just enough to swirl and make it tricky.”
Rose’s excellent day only has him up one stroke after 18 holes. Russell Knox and Abraham Ancer both carded 66 for -5’s. Knox was quiet through the first nine, with two birdies and one bogey for a -1 on the front. And he tripped up on 12 with a poor second shot and subsequently poor putting. But the Inverness, Scotland, native was -4 on his final five holes. He eagled 15 from the middle of the fairway, then birdied 16 and 17.
Ancer, meanwhile, had the opposite day. The Reynosa, Mexico, native carded four birdies on the front. But on the back, Ancer missed three potential birdie putts, leaving chances up for grabs. He closed his round with a birdie on 18 after a strong recovery from the green-front bunker.
Four players are two strokes off the lead, notably Keegan Bradley and Gary Woodland, and an additional eight are only three strokes back of Rose. Second round play in Norton begins tomorrow morning at 8:15 AM.