SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – Justin Rose will be the first to admit that his side of the U.S. Open draw got “incredibly lucky” with the weather. By the time he reached the closing stretch of his second round, he finally flipped a switch and thought that long, brutish, nasty Shinnecock Hills could be tamed.
“I really felt like I was more interested in birdies than I was in hanging on,” he said.
And that’s precisely when Rose started to falter.
He three-putted the eighth hole after a lapse of concentration and then drove it into the hay on his last hole of the day, the bogey-bogey finish derailing what had been a sharp second round. He settled for an even-par 70 that left him five back of Dustin Johnson heading into the weekend.
“It’s job done, really, the first two days,” he said. “You can’t win it through two rounds. Even if I had a six-shot lead right now, I’d be thinking the same way tomorrow. It’s just about putting one foot in front of another. We add it up after 72 and see where we’re at.”
Rose is fighting tournament history – 21 of the last 22 Open winners were at or within two shots of the lead at the halfway point – but he also realizes how quickly Johnson’s lead can disappear.
“I’m very happy with the position I’m in,” he said. “The four shots mean nothing at this point. It’s about who’s going to go out and play the best golf on the weekend.”