LEMONT, Ill. – Justin Rose entered the BMW Championship opening round armed with a conservative gameplan.
“My mindset was to respect the golf course and to go out there and just fairways and greens it,” Rose admitted. “I felt like if you could keep it around par today, it would have been a pretty solid start to the golf tournament.”
He was right. With just about half of the 70-man field over par, Rose’s strategy to keep things around even was a sound one.
Only problem? He far exceeded those expectations.
Rose posted nine birdies during an 8-under 63 that gave him a two-stroke lead at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club.
“I thought today was going to be a day to hang in there. Little did I know I was about to play so well,” he said. “Certainly my best round of the year by a long, long way, and could have been top five, top 10 rounds I've ever played, for sure. That was really, really good out there.”
Listen to Rose and you’d expect his dance card to be full of MCs for the season, but he’s actually enjoyed a solid year, with four top-10s and 10 top-25s in 20 previous PGA Tour appearances.
All that’s missing so far is a victory – he won twice last year – but that next trip to the winner’s podium could be just 54 holes away.
“I think I'm [playing] with the mindset I've got nothing to lose this week. That's my strategy. That's my attitude,” he explained. “I still feel like I can make it a great year.”