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Rose tweaks back with drive, but offers no excuse

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – Justin Rose stood on the par-5 15th tee late Sunday at Augusta National deep in the throes of a back-nine Masters battle with longtime buddy Sergio Garcia.

He took a mighty lash off the tee, knowing he’d need to make birdie at worst to keep pace with the surging Spaniard.

Rose winced, and appeared as if his back was in pain.

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“I find this a tough walking golf course, and it normally takes its toll on my body a little bit this week. Yeah, all week, really, there’s been the odd shot, the odd twinge,” he said.

It was a bad time for that to arise, although Rose still managed to boot his drive 309 yards. He hit his approach onto the green and two-putted for birdie, but Garcia made eagle and the tournament was suddenly tied.

The pain popped up a couple more times over the last three holes but Rose contends it had nothing to do with the ultimate outcome, a Garcia victory for the first time in a major.

“It’s more of a facet joint Rose said. “It’s like right through at the end of my follow through when I’m into extension, I just feel like a little bit of a pinch and then I kind of have to come out of that position very, very quickly.”