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July 6, 2017

Justin Rose

Portstewart, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Q. Seven years since you've played an Irish Open and you opened with a bogey-free 67. Just describe your day from your point of view.
JUSTIN ROSE: God knows how I was bogey-free, some of the places that I hit it today. Obviously delighted with that start. I think it was more a good score than good golf. I didn't drive the ball particularly well.

Early on in my round, I was losing shots to the right and kind of figured it out a little bit. You know, then I think the key was hitting some good tee shot on the early par 5s, birdie, eagle. To get 3-under par through five holes, having played most of the holes quite poorly, so that was kind of a nice momentum booster.

Hit some good iron shots. Put a new set of irons in play this week, a new set of blades from TaylorMade, so that was kind of nice. That's what you want to see when you try something new, is to see it feel like a good decision. So I would say the strong part was my iron play, and just work on my driver a bit.

Felt like I putted well. All the putts that didn't go in today were scaring the hole, so for the most part, putted well.

Q. I understand you've been involved with the development of those irons, along with Rory.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, they are called the Rose Proto. I think there's an engineer I've worked with closely over the years; he's given a lot of my feedback to. I think they very much look like a set of TaylorMades. They are still unique in the look to TaylorMade in the look they go for but just a bit of a cleaner look, I would say, just slightly sharper edges, sharp, better lines.

So it's always nice when you look down at a blade for it to look like a confidence-building club just because it looks pretty.

Q. When you see a succession of players, starting with Rory, going through Jordan, Jason and Dustin, multi-win seasons, taking them to world No. 1, do you feel like you're due for a run like that?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I feel so. I feel like since last year, it's been slow but I haven't played a lot of golf, either. But I feel like, yeah, my energy is up now, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season.

Absolutely, once you are on a run, you've got to keep it going. There are a lot of guys playing really good golf right now. If you look at the World Rankings, there's a bunch of guys who are maybe seven average World Ranking points, which is as strong as we've ever seen in the game.

Yeah, if you do get hot, you've got to keep your foot on the accelerator at the minute.

Q. Very solid start, no dropped shots. And the highlight, the eagle early on in the round.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I would say the scorecard looks a lot more solid than it actually was. I hit quite a few loose shots out there but managed to find them and maybe get a half-decent lie to work something up and around the green. And then obviously my short game was good and kept the dropped shots off the card.

Getting to 5-under through 11 was all I could hope for from where I hit it and from that point, it's funny how golf gives and takes. I felt like I left a couple out there coming in because there were a couple par 5s I didn't take the opportunity on coming in. But overall 5-under par, that's probably more than I deserved.

Q. Fairly calm conditions today. These are the type of conditions you relish on a links course because it gives you the chance to pick up some shots.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think so. The type of day you relish is kind of, I would say, that perfect sort of ten, 15-mile-an-hour breeze where the course plays tough but still if you play well, there's a score out there today.

I think today was probably a bit too benign to really test your game. Nevertheless, it's fun. There's plenty of days where it's blowing 40.

Q. Been a while since you've played in Ireland. How nice is it to be playing back in this part of the world?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, they are such a knowledgeable golfing crowd, very much reminiscent of Scotland in terms of they are very passionate for the game and the golf course has been a lot of fun to play and learn. It's a really, really golf course and a good links. Yeah, it's good to be back.

Q. How happy are you with your first round?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, delighted with the score. Not that happy with how I played funny enough. I hit quite a few loose tee shots and maybe got a way with it a bit today. To get 5-under through 11 was kind of unbelievable considering where I hit the ball.

But then you kind of get greedy and you think you can kick on from there and I feel like I maybe left a couple shots out there coming in. It's a bit of mixed emotions, really. I think if I can straighten out the driver a little bit, that would be great but I hit my irons well and felt comfortable with the putter. Obviously short game pulled through today. A lot of positives to take into the weekend.

Q. Did you feel you had to go low today because the conditions were so good at the moment?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I felt like you'd be disappointed to walk off even par today. You'd have felt like you missed the opportunity. From that point on, it would have been an uphill battle the rest of the week.

So 5-under is certainly not obviously the best score out there but it's good enough to keep pace with the field and feel like you made a positive start.

Q. The decision to play The Irish Open, the proximity of The Open Championship, was that the deciding factor or a big factor?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, obviously I think the fact that it's now a Rolex Series event, it's been elevated the last couple years. It's the event I think it should be. It's such a passionate golfing nation and it's great for them to have a big tournament on the schedule now.

To have the opportunity to play links golf now a week before and two weeks before The Open is fantastic. Some guys don't like to play the week before a major.

Personally, I like to prepare and try to get to know the golf course we're going to play for the major championship, so this is a great tournament for me to hone my links skills, but gives me the opportunity to go and play Birkdale next week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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