Rose climbs to 7 under at midpoint to take AT&T National lead
Leader says he now needs to practice being in contention
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. — Justin Rose won last month at the Memorial, his first victory on the PGA Tour. Just last Sunday, that very same Rose held a three-shot lead headed into the final round of the Travelers Championship, and collapsed with a final-round 75.
So the easy question Friday, after Rose shot a brilliant, bogey-free 64 to take the lead at 7under-par 133 midway through the AT&T National: What did he learn from his meltdown?
“When you learn something, you’ve got to practice it for it to become natural, right?” Rose said. “So if you’re not in shot a 64 on Friday and will try for his second PGA Tour win. contention that much, it’s very difficult to put into play the lessons that you learn.”
In expanding on his answer, Rose brought up the one figure at Aronimink Golf Club who once was in contention every time he teed it up but is now stumbling: Tiger Woods. But while Rose leads Jason Day and Charlie Wi by a shot headed into the weekend, Woods barely made the cut at the tournament that benefits his foundation.
Woods’ error-filled 70 left him 3 over for the tournament, cursing at his putter, and play- ing so early today he’ll have to, as he said, do some “dewsweeping” before the leaders come through hours later. His assessment of his own game, wayward most of the season, sounded like that of a weekend hacker.
“It’s always something,” Woods said. “I’m driving it on a string, then my irons aren’t very good. Or hit it awesome, putt awful. Putt great, hit it awful. It’s always something, isn’t it?”
What it isn’t, right now, is winning golf. Though Woods has, in the past few weeks, linked his performance to his self-imposed hiatus at the beginning of the season — “The amount of rounds I’ve played so far this year is about what I normally play through March,” he said Tuesday — he has a history of success early in the year. The AT&T National is his sixth start in 2010. Since 1999, he has never taken more than six starts to post a victory; five times he has won his first time out. 68 to share second place at 9under 133.
Kristy McPherson holed a 60-degree wedge from 75 yards on the 18th hole for an eagle to lead a pack of six players at 136.
Defending champ Eunjung Yi had a 68 and was eight shots back, while 2008 winner Paula Creamer missed the cut. Russian Open. He lost his playing rights last season and got them back by finishing fourth at qualifying school last fall.