AUGUSTA, Ga. (Reuters) – After a number of near misses at the Masters, Justin Rose remained confident that he would eventually get a chance to slip his arms into a Green Jacket — before the doubts started to creep in again.
“For sure,” Rose said when asked whether he expects to wear the famed blazer sometime in the future before adding “maybe” – a sign that at the age of 40 it might be a bit presumptuous to make such a definitive call.
The Englishman could hardly be blamed for his reaction considering the dramatic finales he has had to endure at Augusta, including a pair of runner-up finishes — a playoff loss to Sergio Garcia in 2017 preceded by a four-shot deficit to Jordan Spieth in 2015.
And Rose is back in the mix this year, two shots from the second-round clubhouse lead after shooting 67 and 70 for seven-under-par 137.
He was upbeat after three birdies in his final four holes, his mood further helped by the knowledge he would not be among the 48 players who will be up well before dawn to complete the round on Saturday morning.
Rose will appreciate the chance for a bit of extra rest after battling his body on Friday.
“I felt a bit tight; my hips, my back wasn’t feeling great today, so it was a bit of a grind,” said the 2013 U.S. Open champion.
“I felt like I lost a bit of distance off the tee. But worked hard.”
Rose has had a poor year by his own standards, and by his estimation his game is only at about 60% of where he thinks it should be.
But Augusta National is a place where he knows what to do.
“I know how to manage my way around here,” he said.
“I’ve done all the right things down the stretch here and don’t have an arm in a jacket yet.”
“Maybe one arm, but that doesn’t count. (Golf) doesn’t owe you anything, right, but if it was to happen, I feel like there’s some dues that have been paid maybe.”
(Reporting by Andrew Both, editing by Pritha Sarkar)