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June 14, 2014

Justin Rose


Q. Had a good day?
JUSTIN ROSE: Could have been a great day, no doubt. Played really, really well today. I was surprised when I got in the scorer's tent and that said 70 was tied for the lowest score today so far. That's a lot of golf that's been played. I teed off at 1:13 today. That was kind of surprising. I felt like I had an opportunity to go low. I felt like a squandered a lot of shots out there. Every bogey I made was a cheap give away. That's why I didn't really realize how tough the course was playing. I put myself pretty much on the right side of the flag stick, even if I missed up-and-downs it was fairly routine. And the ones I didn't make were in a sense frustrating drop shots. That's going to tell me I'm doing a lot of things well, I'm placing the ball well, thinking well around this golf course, beginning to swing it really well. And I made some putts today. I had little trouble with some speed on occasion, but began to knock in a few 15-footers, which is what I hadn't been doing early on in the week.

Q. You had more chances than --
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I looked at the pin sheets today and I didn't see anything that was overly tough. Obviously the nature of our practice rounds, we knew the pins were going to be two yards away from run-offs. And that's unfortunately what gets in your head around this golf course. When you're chipping and pitching, you start to hit very defensive chip shots, because you know if you get it 6, 8 feet past the pin, you are off the green and chipping from an even tougher spot. It's a very mental test around here, and that's what I feel like has impacted me the most this week. I've gotten a little negative with my chipping. But that's Pinehurst, and that's the demanding test that it is. For me there's still enough moisture out there that good shots are rewarded. But it's tough. And that's why it's the U.S. Open. But there's still plenty of guys under par. I won it last year with plus 1 and I won by two shots. And the second place was really plus three. And that's not looking like that's being the case this year. Yeah, it's tough. If it's a PGA TOUR event, yeah, people would probably be whinging that it was too difficult. I think good shots are still getting rewarded. I think that's what the USGA is all about. They don't want to see good shots get punished. You can hit what looks like a good shot, but if you challenge the pin is that really a good shot? You know the zone you're hitting into should not necessarily be at the flag stick. Yesterday and today was still very playable, I thought. But clearly the scores will say otherwise. I was very surprised that 70 was the best score.

Q. A day like this, when you're grinding for a 70, are you happy or relieved when you're done with your round?
JUSTIN ROSE: I was frustrated because I dropped four shots, in my opinion, in three holes with my short game around the turn. I knifed it out of the bunker on 9, which should have been a very routine up and down. I didn't get up and down from the front edge of 10, which was very routine, in my opinion. 12 was a little bit of a tougher up and down, but I still had the green to work with. Eight times out of ten, you'd be hopeful there. That's four shots that I just gave away like that, plus 3-putting the first. Five shots. So even say three of those, allow yourself two mistakes. But that's three shots, in my opinion. That three shots gets me a couple under. It allows me to dream going into tomorrow that it's possible. I think right now I have to accept that I'm probably playing for the places, but stranger things have happened. I'd love to be -- today was the day I needed something special.

Q. Is 65 doable out there today or tomorrow?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think -- well, obviously Martin has been the first guy to ever shoot 65 at Pinehurst. And the conditions the first two days were easier than we've had them today. So saying that, it's probably not possible. But of course, if you go out and play a special round of golf, it's always possible. And it just takes clean ball-striking. But it takes making putts around here, because you can't get it close to the hole on many occasions. That's what I'm going to need to make this a great week.

Q. The standard mentality is to try to get close to the top. So now you have to adjust your thinking for placement. How odd is that, and how difficult is it to actually do?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, well, I don't know. Martin is probably out there with a very similar game plan with anybody chasing him. I feel like the course instructs you where to hit it. If you start going at flags -- the chasing pack has got that dilemma. They need to make up shots, but they know they can't get too aggressive around here. Martin is playing the same strategy as the guys trying to chase him. I don't know if that plays into his hands or that doesn't. If he starts making mistakes, things get a little tense out there. I feel like there's only one way to play this golf course and that's fairly conservatively.

Q. You can't really get too aggressive, especially if you are the chaser?
JUSTIN ROSE: I changed my opinion off the tee. Off the tee I've gotten a lot more aggressive as the week's gone on, but with the second shot you have to remain defensive.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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