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Healthy Rose gaining confidence in Tampa

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PALM HARBOR, Fla. – Not even a messy bogey on the final hole could keep Justin Rose from proclaiming that his Saturday 69 at the Valspar Championship was his “most solid round of the year.”

He sits at 5-under 208, just three shots behind leader Robert Garrigus.

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On the final hole, Rose hit his drive left into the trees and couldn’t find the green after an impressive recovery. He tried to play his third shot like a blast from the bunker, but his club bounced into the ground and sent his ball screaming past the flag. His 25-foot par putt hung on the lip.

“Big picture, this is as well as I’ve played all year,” Rose said. “I certainly feel like I’m ready to win whenever I tee it up now.”

The reigning U.S. Open champion has been out of sorts this year after returning from a shoulder injury. In three previous starts he has failed to crack the top 15, but he’s been encouraged by a game that appears major-ready.

“I’m trusting my game,” he said. “I felt like I was going to hit a good shot every time.”