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Irish Open: Rose has positives to build on after a battling round

 

By Adam McKendry

For someone who found the deep rough to the right with his first couple of tee shots, Justin Rose performed remarkably well. From the start he struggled off the tee, and it plagued him for the whole round, yet somehow he still managed to survive and record a five-under round of 67 to open his Irish Open challenge.

It leaves the former US Open champion three shots off joint leaders Daniel Im and Benjamin Hebert, but the Englishman says he's just happy to come in with a good score on the card.

"God knows how that was bogey free, with some of the places I hit it today!" he laughed after his round. "Obviously I'm delighted with the start. I think it was more a good score than good golf because I didn't exactly drive the ball particularly well.

"Early on in the round I was losing shots to the right and kind of figured that out a bit. Then the key was hitting good shots into the par-fives, which got me a birdie and an eagle.

"To get to three under through five holes having played most of them quite poorly was a real nice momentum booster."

Even so, the World No.13 admitted he was probably somewhat fortunate to finish as well as he did, but he did confess that made him happy in knowing he could produce a performance like that even without his best stuff.

"I would say the scorecard looks a bit more solid than it actually was," Rose admitted. "I hit a few loose shots out there but managed to get a half decent lie to work something up and around the green. And then my short game was good to keep dropped shots off the card.

"I'm delighted with the score though, even if I'm not happy with how I played. To get to five under through 11 was kind of unbelievable.

"I have a bit of mixed emotions really. I think if I can straighten out my driver a little bit then that would be great, but I hit my irons well and felt comfortable with the putter. And obviously the short game came through.

"I have a lot of positives to take into the weekend."

And, as a final statement, Rose admitted he was delighted to be back in Ireland for the first time in seven years, among fans who love and know so much about the game.

"(The Irish crowd) are very reminiscent of Scotland in that they are passionate for the game," he said. "The golf course has been a lot of fun to play and learn. It's a really, really good golf course and a good links. Yeah, it's good to be back."

Oliver Fisher recovered from a bogey on the third with seven birdies in his next eight holes and also holed from 30ft for an eagle on the 13th, but was denied a share of the lead with a bogey on the last.

"I've had some ups and downs and it's certainly a grind at times," said Fisher, who was the youngest player in Walker Cup history when he represented Great Britain and Ireland as a 16-year-old in 2005.

"I know I have it in me, I have the ability, it's just the consistency. The top players are more consistent than those lower down the ladder."

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