Norton – England’s Justin Rose has set himself the target of FedEx Cup glory after muscling his way to a one-stroke lead on day one of the Dell Technologies Championship near Boston here Friday.
Rose brilliantly bounced back from missing the cut in last week’s opening event of the play-off series with a bogey-free six-under-par 65 on the TPC Boston course.
The current world number four ended his round just clear of Scotland’s Russell Knox and Mexico’s Abraham Ancer, with the duo signing for five-under-par 66s.
Rose’s score is his lowest PGA Tour first round in 19-months.
The Bahamas-based Englishman notched birdies on three of his closing four holes to vault up the leaderboard.
“I was very aware that the course was playing trickier than usual so I arrived at the course well before my tee time and just hit some chips and putts, trying to get a feel for the golf course, feel for the greens,” he said.
“I noticed that it was playing tricky out there, for sure. I looked at the pins last night, and I thought there was an opportunity to make some birdies.
“And I was able to go bogey-free today, which I think no one else managed to do. I guess just keeping the card clean made the birdies really count for something.”
Rose had sat out the weekend rounds of the Northern Trust with scores of 72 and 74, the first time he’s missed a cut in 15 Tour events this year.
“In some ways that missed cut helped me from that point of view, changed the mindset a little bit and obviously offered me a chance to go home for six days,” Rose added.
“I only arrived here back in Boston last night. I managed to pretty much have a full week off, which hopefully will pay off, if it’s not this week, next week or the week after.”
Rose arrived in Boston lying sixth on the FedEx Cup standings and is already projected to move to number one.
Acquiring top spot is the 38-year old’s after a career high of fifth in 2010 and 2015.
“I am trying to be selfish right now, and focus on these next three tournaments and winning the FedExCup,” he said.
“To win would be a huge moment in my career if that happens.”
Knox and Ancer ended their near 7pm local time and with the Florida-based Scot very pleased with his effort in a round capped by holing his 109-yard second shot for an eagle at the par-4 15th.
The reigning Irish Open champion had birdied 13 and then also birdied 16 and the 18th holes.
“It was great. I think I was just plodding away and playing okay. And made kind of a mess of the 12th hole from the middle of the fairway,” he said.
“I made a great par on 14 and then holed my wedge shot on 15 before hitting a 6-iron on 16 to two feet.
“The round was just good in four holes. So, it was nice. I haven’t had one of those bang-bang runs in a while.”
Tiger Woods struggled in hitting only half of the 18 Boston greens to post a one-over-par 72 and a score he shares with likely USA Ryder Cup captain’s pick Phil Mickelson.
Leading scores after Friday’s completed first round of the US PGA Dell Technologies Championship, TPC Boston, Norton, Massachusetts (USA unless noted, par-71):
65 – Justin Rose (ENG)
66 – Russell Knox (SCO), Abraham Ancer (MEX)
67 – Chris Kirk, Beau Hossler, Keegan Bradley, Gary Woodland
68 – Adam Hadwin (CAN), Xander Schauffele, Marc Leishman (AUS), Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson, James Hahn, Rafa Cabrera Bello (ESP), Brian Harman
69 – Pan Cheng-tsung (TPE), An Byeong-hun (KOR), Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell, Tyrrell Hatton (ENG), Charles Howell III, Henrik Stenson (SWE), Alex Noren (SWE), Kevin Kisner, Cameron Smith (AUS), Austin Cook, Tony Finau, Brooks Koepka, Paul Casey (ENG), Tommy Fleetwood (ENG), Peter Uihlein, J.B. Holmes
71 – Rory McIlroy (NIR), Hideki Matsuyama (JPN)
72 – Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson