It wasn't always pretty, but Justin Rose managed to mount a second-nine charge and keep the clubhouse lead Friday at the Masters.
After opening with a sizzling 7-under 65 in Round 1 on Thursday, the 40-year-old overcame an opening-nine 39 to shoot 3-under on the closing stretch in Round 2. Currently holding a two-stroke advantage, the Masters veteran knows all too well how different the legendary course can play on a day-to-day basis.
"I think it was just a classic day at Augusta National when you're just slightly off," Rose said after the round. "You can be a foot or two out on certain occasions, and you end up struggling. I think maybe off the back of yesterday, yeah, you know, it starts to feel pretty different pretty quickly.
"But again, I kind of told myself going up the eighth hole, 'You're leading the Masters - your frame of reference is a little bit different to yesterday.'"
After shooting 9-under on his final 11 holes Thursday, Rose once again relied on that stretch Friday. The Englishman went 3-under across the same span, putting him at 12-under on holes 8-18 over two days. His nine birdies on the closing stretch through two rounds are tied for the most since 1990.
Should Rose hold his lead through Friday and eventually claim the green jacket, he'll buck a trend: Five players on seven occasions - including Rose in 2004 - have held the outright lead after the first and second rounds at Augusta National, with only Jordan Spieth in 2015 going on to win, according to Justin Ray of the 15th Club.