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August 9, 2018

Justin Rose

St. Louis, Missouri

Q. Justin, congratulations. Hit a couple of rough patches out there but always manage to scrape it through.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yes. Missed a short one on the 1st, which was slightly unsettling. Obviously, just trying to get to the 1st tee this week has been a process for me. To kind of get up there and wedge it into the bunker, to hit a great bunker shot out to a couple of feet and then to miss it, it was like, oh, okay. That made me kind of swallow a little bit hard going into the 2nd tee.

Great drive off of No. 2, wedged it in close. Birdied 3. Really kind of got myself into the round. 4, 5, and 6 played really tough on this golf course, and I got through there unscathed, and I felt like I could build the score as I did. Got it to 3 under.

Then kind of struggled coming in. Maybe just a bit of tournament sharpness because I haven't played the last couple of weeks. But really good saves for me on 15 and 16 and birdieing 17. Delighted to get into the house at 3 under. It's a good start.

Q. You said you could take a negative and turn it into a positive. After what happened in Akron and then you couldn't play, but if any course you could play blind, it would be this one. So that strategy seems to be working for you. How is the back?
JUSTIN ROSE: Back's good. Not thinking about it. I was able to hit every shot as I wanted to today. It's interesting. I walked nine holes both days. So I haven't hit a bad shot on the golf course. So I kind of went out there today and had a very clear intent on what I wanted to do on every hole. Often you can be biased how you play in practice at times, and that can influence the clubs you want to hit off the tee and what you're comfortable doing.

Today I had a bit of a blank canvas to play with, and I felt comfortable on the course.

Q. (No microphone)?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, they were. The greens are -- one thing that has hurt me today was my pace on the greens. I found that very difficult. I probably haven't seen enough putts up and over the ridges. Some of the putts looked very fast to me and they're not. You have to be very aggressive. I finally got myself to commit to a slow putt on 16. It was an uphill right, a bit like the par I hit on 18, it's a bit of a weird thing to be playing a foot of break and trying to hit it firm. Often when you're playing a foot of break, you're playing quick greens or you're gently letting it break. And here you're playing a lot of break at times and trying to hit it firm. It's a tough one to commit to.

For me, I think in the morning I'm probably going to get here 20 minutes earlier and spend a bit of time on the putting green. I won't bother now. It's pretty chewed up that, putting green, with all the traffic on it. So I'll wait until the morning.

Q. When you walked during the week, did you hit any putts at all?
JUSTIN ROSE: A couple here and all.

Q. So your knowledge of the greens is not much?
JUSTIN ROSE: Very limited. I think the golf course is about hitting it in the sections, the quadrants. Each green is three or four sections. Once you're in those sections, the putting is fairly predictable. It's the tough putt when you're in the wrong section and you've got to go up the hill slow and over the top and downhill. Those are the putts I had trouble with today.

Q. One would think with the experience on the greens today -- you just said you hadn't had any -- it serves you well going into tomorrow? Maybe you could make those adjustments you need?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, for sure. You'd love to take that round and build on it for sure. I feel like I've got a good game plan for this golf course. I don't think much will change in how I approach it going into tomorrow. It's just about picking my spots and getting comfortable with -- get as many good numbers as possible.

You've still got -- I thought the golf course held up better than I thought it would. I thought there would be way more low scores than there were. I thought 3 under par would be running about 20th right now, to be honest with you. To be top five is a testament to this golf course and how soft it is. I actually thought the scoring might be a bit better.

Q. So you're pleased?
JUSTIN ROSE: 100 percent.

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