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English Rose can be a late bloomer

By Andy Farrell

While Rory McIlroy headed out on what turned out to be a far less freaky Friday than usual, the rest of the home challenge had some catching up to do.

Scotland's Stephen Gallacher, playing late in the day, made a couple of early birdies to reach the Open's top 10 before drifting backwards but England's finest were on a face-saving exercise.

On Thursday they were upstaged by a 24-year-old amateur. Ashley Chesters, from Hawkstone Park in Shropshire, scored a 70 to be the leading Englishman on the opening day.

Normal service was resumed yesterday but it took a couple of moments of brilliance to get the hottest player in the world entering the Open headed in the right direction.

Justin Rose, who arrived at Hoylake after winning his last two tournaments, battled the elements in the morning to post a 70 that put him two under par.

The Scottish Open champion was joined on that mark by David Howell, who hit the first shot of the championship on Thursday and yesterday finished by birdieing each of the last three holes.

Rose undoubtedly got unlucky with the draw, going out late on Thursday then early yesterday.

There were no panics yesterday about having the wrong driver in his bag, as occurred at the start of his first round, but nothing much was happening for the 2013 US Open champion until he reached the turn.

After saving par with a fine 15-footer on the 8th, Rose played a delightful chip-and-run at the 9th from 60 feet for a birdie.

He then repeated the feat with an almost identical shot at the 10th, this time for eagle. A turning point, perhaps.

"If I go on to win, that little stretch will be for sure," he said.

"But what it's done right now is give me an opportunity."

That he did not kick on as he might have hoped was influenced by the strengthening wind.

"We had an hour or so where I felt like we were just hanging on," Rose said.

Inevitably, as he approached the clubhouse, the wind started to die down.

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