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April 11, 2013

Justin Rose


Q.  Thoughts on today?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, obviously I got off to a really, really nice start today, birdie‑birdie start, and I felt like I hit the ball, drove the ball very, very well until the last three or four holes.  But gave myself quite a few chances today.  Didn't really make anything but was very solid holing out around the cup, which is a nice thing at Augusta, nice to be able to knock in the three‑, four‑footers.  But didn't really make anything until the 18th, when I knocked in a nice 15‑foot putt for par, which makes lunch taste good, really.
I hit my tee shot right.  18 was playing downwind today, so the bunkers were definitely in play.  Driver was the aggressive club, but I felt comfortable hitting a cut off the tee but just started it a little bit too far right.  Got snarled up in the right trees.

Q.  You looked very comfortable today.
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, there's always something about this place.  You just arrive here and it gives you energy.  I always feel comfortable on the golf course.  I almost felt like I couldn't wait for today to start because the practice rounds were dragging, and it was taking so long for the tournament to come around that I felt like once the gun went off today, I felt a lot more comfortable.

Q.  Obviously you're not playing as well as you can.  What's your goal?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Just don't want to lose it.  I've led three times after the first round, which has come to no avail.  You can never win it on day one, you can only lose it.  Just doing exactly what I did today.

Q.  Your drive at 3 kind of left you in a bad spot after that great start.  Did that kill your momentum a little bit where you didn't get up‑and‑down for the pars?
JUSTIN ROSE:  In the short‑term it did.  I had to sort of grind‑‑ well, 5 and 6 and 7 are tough holes, but then I birdied 8 to get right back with it, had a chance to birdie 9.  So I think you just have to accept that this golf course is that way.  But obviously when you put yourself in a bad spot with a 5‑iron off the tee it's a bit of an unforced error.  But you are going to hit some bad shots this week, but it's about not compounding errors.

Q.  What did you think about the setup and pin placements today?
JUSTIN ROSE:  There's a mix of easy and hard out there, which is obviously reflected in the scoring.  There's the opportunity to play well and go low.  I don't think the wind got up quite as much as maybe was anticipated, so from that perspective the scoring is a little bit better.
But you can still get yourself in trouble.  They tucked the pins up on the mounds on 6 and 16.  Those are very hard pins to get to, whereas on the lower levels they're birdie holes, but they're tough par holes when they've got the pins up top.
But holes like 11 and a few other holes, they're pretty benign pin placements, too, so it was a mix.

Q.  You've been so consistently solid this year.  Do you come in a little more confident overall?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, very much so.  I feel like I come here not having to try extra hard.  I feel like if I just do what I've been doing, I'm going to put myself in contention in some form.  So hopefully I'll just continue to just play solid golf and see what transpires on the weekend.

Q.  How far did you have for birdie at 1 and 2?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Three feet and two‑putted for birdie from like 30 feet.

Q.  What did you hit into there?
JUSTIN ROSE:  I hit wedge.  And then I hit driver, 4‑iron into 2.

Q.  Talk about conditions today, because it seems like it was a little dry and fast, and talk about how that could change tomorrow.
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, I anticipated today being dry and fast.  Obviously we've had three perfect days with a lead into this, and maybe some rain expected, they weren't going to put too much water on the course.  But still, the greens were receptive to a good shot.
The greens I thought were relatively fast.  I felt like I've seen them faster in the past.  But it was a perfect day's golf, really, just a little bit of breeze to contend with, and the course is certainly not easy but gettable if you played really, really well, which is a nice way to have it.

Q.  In previous years have you found that the conditions make it tougher in the later rounds or the pressure?
JUSTIN ROSE:  I'd say the pressure because especially the back nine on Sunday some of the pins are relatively easy.  If you hit the right shot you can make ones on 16 and eagles and stuff like that.  I'd say there's a fine line around here between a good shot and a bad shot.  If you catch the ridge it goes stiff, and if you leave yourself up in the mound, you're having a tough time to make par.  It's a very fine line.

Q.  You had a couple of events this year where you've played much better Thursday and Friday than Saturday and Sunday.  What's your take on that?  Bay Hill was one.
JUSTIN ROSE:  Well, I disagree.  I started Saturday, got out of the gates really, really quick on Saturday and just kind of‑‑ I felt like a bit of an anomaly on Saturday afternoon.  I just felt like‑‑ I don't know what it was, but I didn't feel myself, I almost got a little bit sick, just like totally lost my energy.  And then I played a great Sunday round to come from 10th to 2nd.  So I kind of feel like I've been playing really well under pressure.  I've been improving my position every Sunday that I've played this year.  I've improved my position in the field every weekend that I've played.  So I kind of see it the other way.

Q.  I just noticed that your third and fourth rounds at a couple of those events were several shots off what you did the first two events.
JUSTIN ROSE:  Well, I've improved my position every tournament on Sunday, so I don't know how that's possible.

Q.  If you could win the Masters or the British Open, which would you take?
JUSTIN ROSE:  I mean, those are the ones I'd like to cherry pick.  Yeah, I think I've grown up sort of holing the putts in the Open Championship a thousand times.  I think that's kind of the tournament I dreamed about winning as a kid.  When you start to play the Masters, eight Masters into it, you really begin to understand the magic of this place.  It's definitely a tough one, but I'll have to stick to my roots, I think.

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