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By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 11/06/20 10:10pm
Justin Rose made the ideal start in his bid to revive his FedExCup chances as he fired a superb opening 63 on day one of the Charles Schwab Challenge.
Rose made light of the 91-day break in professional competition, and the “subdued” atmosphere at a spectator-free Colonial Country Club in Texas as he made seven birdies and kept a bogey off his card to set the early clubhouse target at seven under par.
The former world No 1 had endured a poor start to the current PGA Tour season and missed the cut in three of his first four starts, leaving him outside the top 200 in the FedExCup standings while his world ranking slipped to 14th.
But he wasted little time in getting back on track, holing from 25 feet for birdie at the 10th – his first – before adding back-to-back birdies at 12 and 13 and another at the short 16th.
Rose began the front nine with three straight birdies, and he parred the last six to stay at seven under which was good enough for the outright early lead ahead of Abraham Ancer and Jhonattan Vegas.
“I don’t have the luxury of having any points on the board, so for me, it’s important just to try to get as many points as I can, so I think I’m going to play quite a lot early,” said Rose, the FedExCup champion in 2018.
“I’m probably going to play five of the first six weeks is the way it’s looking, and then I guess that gives me a bit of a reassessment at that point, obviously with the PGA coming up, it’s how I want to tailor my preparation into the PGA, and then obviously afterwards the FedExCup Play-offs begin.
“I’m just going to have to assess where I’m at, but definitely five of the next six weeks I need to make my run now for sure,” added Rose, who also admitted that adhering to the social distancing guidelines requires plenty of focus.
“Yeah, for sure, we’re trying to follow the guidelines, but it’s amazing how routine and what you’ve done for 20 years kicks in, and you’ve got to keep reminding yourself,” he said.
“Definitely I’m sure we all made a couple of mistakes out there, but we’re definitely very conscious of what we touch personally and therefore who touches that next and how that’s dealt with.
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“I think all the caddies are trying to do a good job with the flagstick because obviously that impacts the whole field, raking the bunkers and what have you. Obviously I’m staying with my caddie, we’ve been in close proximity and kind of living in a little bubble together, so whether that be touching the golf clubs with a towel.
“I’m relatively comfortable with that, but we’ve got to be cognisant of other people. Every surface you look at now, you’ve just got to kind of treat it as an unknown. It’s interesting. But we’re definitely doing our best to play by the guidelines for sure.”
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