Rose narrows gap to USPGA leaders

Rose narrows gap to USPGA leaders

After struggling to break 80 in the second round it was a totally different story for Justin Rose on his return to the USPGA Championship.

With five birdies in his first 10 holes Rose charged from joint 47th place into a tie for seventh and was only three strokes behind overnight leaders Tiger Woods, Carl Pettersson and Vijay Singh.

Kiawah Island was still windy, but nothing like it had been on a Friday that saw more scores in the 90s than in the 60s – just Singh’s 69.

Rose was back at the venue where he and Paul Casey were runners-up for England in the 2003 World Cup, although he admitted on Wednesday he could not remember everything about it.

“The front nine I had no recollection of whatsoever,” said Rose, joint fifth at last week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

He was hoping to wipe his 79 from his mind as well and did a good job of that by following a birdie at the 458-yard fourth with three more in a row from the sixth to turn in 32.

Holing from 18 feet on the 447-yard 10th continued his burst, but he missed a seven-foot chance at the long next and so remained one under par.

Rose, of course, is seeking the first major title of his career, but with four PGA Tour wins – the last of them his first world championship in Miami in March - he knew he had the game to do it.

There was also encouragement for the 31-year-old in the fact that the last 16 majors have had 16 different winners – including fellow Europeans Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell, Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke.

Not on the list was world number one Luke Donald and his wait to break through in one of the sport’s four biggest tournaments was set to continue to next season.

After only just surviving the cut at six over Donald covered the first 10 holes in three under, but took six at the 11th, had further bogeys at the 13th and 14th and then ran up a seven on the 581-yard 16th.

He finished with a 74 for eight over, but fellow Englishman David Lynn had three birdies in the first eight holes to stand level par and joint 13th in the first American major of the 38-year-old’s life.

Harrington was only one further back after sinking a seven-foot birdie putt at the long second, while Scot Paul Lawrie was three over with six to go and Clarke five over after 15.

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