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April 8, 2017

Justin Rose

Augusta, Georgia

MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Justin Rose, what a spectacular day. Justin carded five birdies on the Second Nine today, on the way to a 5‑under 67. He birdied holes 3, 8, 12, 13, 15, 17 and 18. Justin is the leader in the clubhouse now at 6‑under par.
Justin, how do you plan to keep the momentum going from today's round into tomorrow afternoon?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, obviously just on today, it was a beautiful day out there. We were kind of waiting‑‑ we saw the forecast and for the last couple of days, we were just waiting for that day. It was great to be out there. The course was in magnificent shape, and it was there for the taking in the sense that if you played great golf, you were rewarded, but still had enough teeth that if you weren't on your game it was going to get you.
I'm in a great position going into tomorrow. I think had I been two or three shots behind, I still would have felt that I was in great position going into tomorrow, which leads me to understand everybody's mind‑set behind me.
So it means that I have to stay positive tomorrow. I have to continue to play good, aggressive golf, as I did today.

Q. After 7, you're still even par and five shots back. Did you feel like you needed to step on the gas a little bit?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, I knew I needed to get going for sure. But I had confidence that I would have my run. I felt like I played really well all week.
I felt like after the first couple of rounds, I could have significantly lower than my score was but I've been very patient with that. I've kind of known that I've been playing well and been thinking well and making good decisions.
And then today I began to feel very comfortable on the greens. Just things began to click and I had my run. So I trusted in that fact. Yeah, I set sort of a positive goal going forward to start making some birdies.

Q. The shot into 18, you seemed to kind of shrug your shoulders. Did you think it was coming up short?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I wanted it about two feet. No, I'm just teasing. I had 193 to the hole and I hit my 6‑iron 195 typically, and it was a touch into the breeze, so I knew it was all of a 6‑iron and I hit it really, really nicely. But as I looked at it mid‑flight, it looked like it was holding up. It looked like it was stalling out a touch. So when I saw the ball do that, I kind of figured it was going to be hitting a ridge and rolling back down.
I got enough of it, I guess that I hit it really solid and fortunately it was enough just to carry up on the top and leave myself a really makeable putt.

Q. Is there any simple reason why you seem to have that good run of birdies? Was it some minor adjustment you made to your putting or something, or how can we explain six birdies in ten holes or 11 holes?
JUSTIN ROSE: No, there's no real reason for it. I think that this course offers you that. It offers you a run. It offers you a run around the par 5s. I took advantage of the par 5s ‑‑ 8, 13, 15 ‑‑ and stole a couple more. It was a very solid round and then obviously finishing birdie, birdie, just kind of put the cherry on top of what was a good day.
I think that the key to the strong finish was the patience that I showed on the front nine. Fooch and I, we physically talked about that out there. We kind of knew that we were being tested at that point in the tournament. We were playing well, but we weren't really making inroads towards the lead, and chose to stay patient, because that's the only choice that we really have, and it kind of paid off. Doesn't always pay off, but on this occasion it paid off.

Q. Was it one particular hole or one particular place, this conversation?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think we were talking around 7, after I bogeyed the sixth hole. It was around 7 that we were having that conversation.

Q. Obviously on a Sunday at the U.S. Open is entirely different than a Sunday here because of the golf course you're playing. But does what you did at Merion help you at all coming down the stretch, knowing that you know how to win a major tomorrow?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, for sure. I'd even add Rio into the mix there. It's not a major championship but it meant a lot to me and you're facing the same emotions, and closing out any tournament, especially when it means something to you, is difficult. But also I take a lot of confidence from the fact that I played in the final group with Jordan in 2015 and played well. Had a positive experience there. Lost to a record‑setting performance, really. Many other years, my score would have been good enough.
So I take confidence that I've put four great rounds together here in the past here, too, and I enjoyed that occasion and I enjoyed the occasion of playing in the final group yesterday as well. I've been used to those late finishes.
Yeah, I'm really looking forward to tomorrow. I'm assuming I'm in the last group. I mean, Rickie is 5‑under, I guess. Sergio still has a couple holes to play. But for me, it's going to be a fun experience.

Q. You were one of the last players in the field to arrive this week. When exactly did you get on site and what was the strategy behind that?
JUSTIN ROSE: So I feel like I know this golf course really well. I think this is my 12th Masters. You do always learn something. There's always a trick that you pick up. So your practice rounds are still very valuable here.
I spent the Monday of Houston here, as well. I was here with Henrik Stenson and we went out and did a lot of work around the greens and on the greens.
When the forecast was bad, I felt there was less rush to get here and I felt the recovery was the most important thing. So I went home Monday, saw my kids and got back here Tuesday afternoon. Went out and played a beautiful nine holes around 5:00 and it was a lot of fun. I feel like recovery has been the focus because of playing Houston last week.

Q. You talked about playing with Jordan in the final group in 2015. What did you see about why this course fits him so well? It's a very strong leaderboard, but just thoughts on him being a couple shots back after all his success here over the years?
JUSTIN ROSE: Sure, yeah. It's a second‑shot golf course, and he's a good iron player. He's very sharp with that. He's got a great golfing brain. This is a very strategic golf course and you have to make good, smart decisions out there. It tempts you at times. It can dangle the carrot. You need to be on top of your thinking and he's very good at that and his putting speaks for itself.
These greens obviously require imagination. They break a lot. So to see the lines it key. But when you pick your line and pick it well, they go in. So it rewards good putting.

Q. As a golf fan and lover of the game, when you see the leaderboard, how would you describe what we will see tomorrow?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, Jordan obviously has a special relationship with the Masters. He's going to feel great about his chances tomorrow. Rickie is a very confident player. He's going to be searching for his first major championship. He's going to be all up for it tomorrow. Sergio is going to have a great opportunity tomorrow.
There's wonderful story lines. Obviously I'm a Major Champion, but I'm looking for more and I'm certainly looking for my first Masters and my first green jacket. This is a place I dearly love and would dearly love to be part of the history here. Everybody has a story line and I'm not even touching upon past champions who are right there, as well.
I'm certainly not getting ahead of myself. Tomorrow is a huge day. I have an opportunity. That's all you want but really it starts on the back nine on Sunday. A one‑shot lead starting the day doesn't mean much. You're going to have to go out and play a good round of golf, and I think there's going to be four or five guys pretty much with the same mind‑set tomorrow.

Q. When you have that talent collected up near the top, do you have to maybe scoreboard‑watch more than usual to know when to step on the gas, than maybe a traditional final round?
JUSTIN ROSE: You know, I think this course offers you opportunities and you've got to take them when they present themselves. It could be the par5, second hole. It could be the second shot into 7 if you put it in the fairway; you know, the feeder pins, but also good, smart golf and hopefully steal a 20‑footer or two. So you've got to sort of pick your moments and stay disciplined out there.
That's the good thing about this golf course is that if you are spot on and you are on top of your game, it will reward you.
MODERATOR: Justin, thank you very much.

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