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August 8, 2019

Justin Rose

Jersey City, New Jersey

Q. How was the first day of your FedExCup defense?
JUSTIN ROSE: Good. I'm delighted with that score. Bogey-free is always fun. Making putts like I did today is always fun.

Yeah, got a bit tricky this afternoon. I didn't pay too much attention to this morning's scores. Was doing my warm-up, got out there, saw a scoreboard at one point: 9, 8, 7S, 6s, and I knew it was on. This golf course, if you're playing well, you can take it on and challenge it. But there's enough run-offs and there's enough iron shots in there that if you're not 100 percent on your game, you have to play conservatively and defensively if you're not 100 percent on.

It's a good mix. I think the putting was obviously the highlight of the day, but I began to feel really comfortable with some of the feels I've got going on in my swing at the moment. A good, positive step.

Q. In the Opens, you talked about putting well but feeling like you're holding the swing together. Do you still feel that way?
JUSTIN ROSE: No, I'm building momentum with that, which is really nice. You might see me on the golf course kind of over doing my feels out there and I'm still in the mindset of where I'm still sort of having to work at it but it's coming. I'm seeing the start line much better, and I'm seeing good quality golf shots. That's when you know, as a player, that was more like it. The more I see that; the more the confidence comes and the better everything gets.

Q. What are you trying to work on?
JUSTIN ROSE: Just clubface being a little stronger coming into the ball. Being a little less ahead of it with my body. Just getting the club sort of come in more from the inside and in a stronger position really so I can be more aggressive with my turn. It sounds complex, but it's like you've got to hit one spot so you can then be aggressive with your turn.

Q. You were bantering with some fans on the 16th green, chatting.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it was loose out there. I had a great pairing with Rickie and Marc Leishman. Marc didn't have a great day, but he stayed with it and was cheery all day. The crowds were not huge today but they were fun. They were out there and they weren't -- a little bit of banter, some people like the red pants, some people didn't. It was one of those days.

It was cool. Nice to, like you said, banter with them. I think you get back what you put in in those situations, so it's good fun.

Q. In a perfect world, you'd obviously want to go into East Lake with minus ten, but what sort of number are you looking at?
JUSTIN ROSE: I don't quite know the breakdown to be honest with you, but I think if you could be within four, I'd say. One a day, you can chisel away at that lead, yeah. We'll see.

But Brooks and Rory, these guys, you don't want to spot them too many. If they go ahead and play well, you don't want to have an insurmountable -- you don't want to give them an insurmountable lead. But yeah, listen, I think if I win one or two of these next few events, then I'm going to be that guy, 10-under, so it offers everybody that opportunity.

Q. What does defending the FedExCup mean to you?
JUSTIN ROSE: Everything. No one's done it yet. Justin Thomas came the closest I think, right? There was a bit of a FedExCup curse, wasn't there, for a while; guys who won it had a terrible next season.

I feel like I've given myself a good opportunity to have a run at it. I've made the most of this year, even though I haven't had my best. I feel like I have a great shot.

Q. Some big birdies, but how big were some of the par saves, 9 and 14?
JUSTIN ROSE: 9 was a tricky little putt, definitely. Any time you make bogey, especially when the guys have shot 9s and 7s and 6s, you can't afford to give away too much.

So yeah, those putts were huge. There was one earlier in the round, I think the par 5, 6th hole I was butchering my way down that hole and ended up making an eight-foot par putt there, too. Those were the keys, and that's why I shot 6-under today. I'm going to have to do it again tomorrow and the next day and the next day. That's the way it is.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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