Rose climbs to 7 un­der at mid­point to take AT&T Na­tional lead

Leader says he now needs to prac­tice be­ing in con­tention

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS -

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.

Justin Rose

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