Rose in control in Connecticut
Justin Rose moved into a four-shot lead heading into the weekend at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut.
Relieved of the burden of trying to seal a maiden win, a relaxed and clear-thinking Justin Rose moved into a four-shot lead heading into the weekend at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut.
The Englishman, who earned his maiden PGA Tour victory at the Memorial earlier this month, set about doubling his tally at TPC River Highlands near Hartford with a bogey-free, eight-under-par 62 just one stroke off the course record at the 6,844-yard, par-70 layout.
Following on from an opening 64 that had put him in a four-way share of the lead, Rose’s lowest round of the year allowed him to reach halfway in the tournament at 14 under par, four strokes ahead of American Kevin Sutherland, who shot a second consecutive 65.
“I think I’m just on a nice streak,” Rose said. “I’m not getting in my way. I’m letting it happen.
“It’s nice to not field the question, ‘Can this be your first win?’ I must say. That helps.
“Having done that, that’s one question that it’s just something less that I have to think about.
“Winning a tournament in its own right is difficult. So when you have the added expectation of it trying to be your first, that can be harder sometimes.”
Rose, 29, admitted that trying too hard had been a problem for him before his breakthrough at the Memorial.
“I’ve been playing this good all year tee to green, but the difference is I’m probably just thinking a little bit more clearly recently and I’m making a few more putts.
“You don’t shoot these kind of scores I’ve been shooting recently without taking your chances, but nothing’s really changed in my long game. What’s changed is the fact that I’m probably a little bit more patient with it. For a while I was chasing results because I knew I was playing well instead of just letting it happen.
“So it’s a very fine line out here. It’s very subtle, and I haven’t really changed much. Suddenly my name’s up there, and you think, well, what’s different. But really nothing is different. It’s just suddenly happening.”
For the second day in a row Rose holed five consecutive birdies on the back nine, starting his second round from the 10th tee, and had all facets of his game under control as he missed just one fairway and two greens in regulation and needed just 26 putts.
“I got out of the blocks beautifully today, par, then five birdies,” Rose said. “Exactly the same as yesterday pretty much on the back side.
“So just a matter of staying out of my way at the moment. Everything’s playing nicely, reading the greens well, stroking the ball well, so it’s going for me right now.
“So, just stay calm, stay patient and one hole at a time.”
Rose, who is also aiming for a top-two spot on a six-event money list ending at next week’s AT&T National to gain an exemption for next month’s Open at St Andrews, is five strokes clear of Vijay Singh, Bill Lunde, Charlie Wi and US Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin.
American Lunde hit two eagles, four birdies and a bogey for his 63, while Singh continued his return to form after an injury-plagued start to 2010 with a five-birdie, one-bogey second-round 66 to also reach nine under.
South Korea’s Wi, one of Rose’s co-leaders alongside Padraig Harrington of Ireland and Australian Mathew Goggin, shot a 67 while Pavin posted a bogey-free 66.
Australian Matt Jones’ 67 advanced him to eight under where he was joined in a tie for seventh at halfway by compatriot Greg Chalmers (66) and American Vaughn Taylor (65).
Harrington could not repeat his opening 64 and carded three birdies and four bogeys en route to a 71, while Goggin posted a 72 to fall to four under.
Defending champion Kenny Perry is at three under after a 68 with the halfway cut falling at two under par, Scotland’s Martin Laird missing out by one stroke after a second-round 70.
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