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March 30, 2017

Justin Rose

Humble, Texas

Q. Justin, level par through 8 holes. Some hard holes in those 8 holes. 5-under for the last 10. How pleased you were with today's work?
JUSTIN ROSE: I'm really pleased. Early in the round I saw Rickie shot 8-under. We were kind of grinding through that stretch, 5, 6, 7, 8. Some tricky holes through there. Think how the guys got to 8-under. To get it going from that point on was great, and yeah, some chances, I guess, around the middle of the golf course, certainly some in the middle of the back-9. Very happy with that start.

Q. Start with the highlight at the 9th. A cracking tee shot. Describe this one for us.
JUSTIN ROSE: This was an aggressive club. I could have safely hit 5-iron to the middle of the green. Trusted the 4-iron to get back there. It was a good number for 4. Needed to trust it. You never want to go long. A lovely shot. Was able to convert that.

Q. We were looking at the tee shot off the 10th. About a second before you pulled the club away, there was the most enormous bang. Look at the shot here. Did you hear it, what was going on?
JUSTIN ROSE: I definitely heard something, but I didn't hear an enormous bang. Somewhat in the zone. No wonder I got a bit quick and hooked it left. To be honest, it was actually good to hit it in the rough. That wasn't my strategy, but there were so many mud balls on the front-9, really, really tough. Patrick Reed, he got really unlucky a few times. The front-9 was incredibly tough if you drove the ball in the fairway. Hitting the rough was a tad static.

Q. Let's have a look at the highlight. 11, little clip in here.
JUSTIN ROSE: It was an 8-iron into the rough. This is a good read. About a foot left the right, once it hit the green and actually don't see it there, I had my club up, which was a fatal thing to do about a foot from hole and tried to miss.

Q. Did you get any chance to play practice yesterday? Did you get out on the course at all?
JUSTIN ROSE: I didn't get out on the course on Tuesday, either. I kind of have -- I've done this a few times in my career, sometimes a little refresher -- I didn't know where the trouble was. I hit a couple aggressive tee shots, 15 over the left bunker there, and anything further left, you realize you're in trouble. Kind of -- sometimes it's easy to play a little bit blind, especially with how good the yardage books are and how decent my caddy is.

Q. Decent. He's standing over there. Players talk about how useful it is to practice here or play here before Augusta. These are the sort of shots, tight shots to tight flags.
JUSTIN ROSE: That was a pull 3-wood again. If I hit it to the right, I had a way better angle. I kind of double-crossed myself and pulled it left. I was able to -- just that 1 inch of rough is often quite nice to play those higher lofted shots from. Got away about one here.

Q. When you won the U.S. Open in Merion, you went there a week in advance and really absorbed the golf course. How have you prepared for the Masters?
JUSTIN ROSE: I was there on Monday. Henrik and I went up and played. We didn't actually play. We walked it with wedges and putters and familiarizing ourselves with the chip shots and putts. So, you know, this is a golf course I know really well. Probably played it a hundred times now. It's the one course I continually take notes and my book -- I'd rather lose my passport than my Augusta yardage book. It's pretty valuable to me. And I also went a few weeks ago and had a casual round with a member, couple friends. Why do you keep going to Augusta to prepare? Why wouldn't you? It's Augusta.

Q. Obviously you want your game to peak for that week. How do you feel it is at the moment? Do you feel where you're like where you want to be?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think so. Still lots to work on this in this round. I don't feel a hundred percent right with a certain things and my chipping needs sharpening up. Maybe my iron play needs sharpening up. I can trend -- trend into Augusta and I feel like I've been trending that way all year. We've seen guys have really hot runs, Justin Thomas, Hideki, obviously Dustin Johnson.

Q. Wish you luck for tomorrow.
JUSTIN ROSE: Thank you.

Q. Par through 8. What did you figure out heading into the 9th that you ended up with 67?
JUSTIN ROSE: I guess trying to stay patient because you see Rickie shot 8-under par. Certainly didn't feel easy out there, some tough holes on the front-9, and especially the way the wind was blowing off the left. Our whole group wasn't seeing birdies. Stayed patient. Got a couple breaks and managed to roll I think 4, 5 in a row around the turn.

Q. How much does that change the mindset? You say you stay patient and all of a sudden they're just going in?
JUSTIN ROSE: You have to remind yourself it's Thursday. You have to remind yourself in situations the week is long and you'll have your runs. I got rewarded pretty early with that thought process. It doesn't always happen that way. It's the only thing you're really left with to trust you'll make your run at some point.

Q. What were the conditions like after the rain yesterday?
JUSTIN ROSE: Really tough on the front-9, especially mud balls. It was a tough part of the day. Patrick, he got so unlucky a few times with mud balls. I hit some squirrely shots. I got away with them. Didn't make too many bogies off the mud balls. We were all having a hard time controlling our iron shots on the front-9. That made it tough. The back-9 seemed to dry up a little bit, but the strategy was almost to hit it more into the rough than to hit in the fairway on that point. I think the course is drying up quickly.

Q. Given the conditions, are you surprised they didn't play the ball up to start the day?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think the PGA TOUR has a rule they don't play it up for mud. They play it up with casual water. There was no standing water out there on the golf course. Apparently in professional golf, mud is not an issue. It's kind of one of the most frustrating things for us.

Q. How does it make it so difficult for like the average fan watching, when you say "mud ball," what makes it so difficult?
JUSTIN ROSE: There's no predictability to the golf shot. There's a rule -- there's a school of thought that if the mud is on the right, the ball goes left. So, I mean, Jordan I think had mud on the right side of his ball on the 3rd hole, aimed in the right-hand bunkers and missed the green left. At that point when you're playing away from the greens, hope the ball kind of scoots on to the green. It's pretty tough to predict that stuff. I don't have the trust to do that. I'm trying to hit the shot I hit and hope for the best.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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