It appears the back injury that caused Justin Rose to withdraw from his last PGA Tour event is a thing of the past, as the Englishman showed once again he's a force to be reckoned with at Augusta National.
Thanks to a sizzling run of 9-under par on his final 11 holes Thursday, the 2015 and 2017 runner-up holds the first-round lead at the Masters for the fourth time in his illustrious career - and by a whopping four strokes over Hideki Matsuyama and Brian Harman.
After starting his day 2-over through the first seven, Rose took advantage of a friendly bounce to eagle the par-5 eighth. That completely flipped his round, and the 40-year-old rode that spark to the best 11-hole stretch at the event since 2004. He finished with a 7-under 65, the lowest score he's ever shot in 59 rounds at the Masters.
Rose's brilliance was certainly not an indication of how Augusta National was playing, as the scoring average on the opening 18 holes was over 74. The morning rounds of 3-under 69 fired by Matsuyama and Harman appeared to be unbeatable in the firm and fast conditions, but Rose eviscerated that theory in the afternoon. Patrick Reed and Webb Simpson were also among those doing their damage early, as the pair of major champions sit tied for fourth at 2-under.
Jordan Spieth backed up the oddsmakers who made him one of the betting favorites entering play, as the 2015 champion fired one of the best rounds of the afternoon and sits tied for eighth. His score looks even more impressive when factoring in a triple-bogey on No. 9 after he had tree issues off the tee.
|Position||Player||Total||Score to par|
|T8||Si Woo Kim||71||-1|
Defending champion Dustin Johnson saw his streak of 11 straight under-par rounds at the event come to an end, as he finished with a 2-over 74, while Brooks Koepka battled through his wonky knee to finish with the same score.
With rainy weather expected later in the afternoon on Friday, Rose's morning tee time could prove to be an advantage as he hopes to extend his lead and take another step toward his second career major championship.