Rose stumbles in nightmare start but clings to Masters lead
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Augusta (United States) (AFP) –
Justin Rose opened with four bogeys in the first seven holes and saw his Masters lead shrink to one stroke as he made the turn in Friday's second round at Augusta National.
The 40-year-old Englishman, twice a Masters runner-up, fired his lowest round in 59 tours at Augusta with a seven-under par 65 on Thursday to lead by four, matching the largest 18-hole Masters edge since 1941.
But reigning Olympic champion Rose, whose only major title came at the 2013 US Open, stumbled badly in early cool and overcast conditions Friday.
Rose found trees to the right off the first tee on his way to an opening bogey for the second consecutive day.
At the 575-yard par-5 second, Rose chipped his third shot within three feet of the cup and rolled in the birdie putt.
Trouble returned, however, with bogeys at the par-3 fourth and sixth and par-4 seventh holes.
On four, Rose was short of the green and his putt up a rise barely clung to the top edge. From there he putted to three feet and found the right side of the cup for bogey.
At six, Rose missed the upper tier of the green and his second shot rolled back to him. He sank an eight-footer to rescue bogey.
At seven, Rose sent his approach into a greenside bunker and missed a 15-foot par putt, rescuing bogey from five feet to stand on 4-under, keeping his outright lead only thanks to a bogey moments earlier by Austrian Bernd Wiesberger at the par-3 12th.
World number 54 Wiesberger, without a top-10 finish in 24 major starts, had opened with four birdies in the first five holes to reach 2-under, added another at the par-5 eighth and rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt at the par-4 10th.
Wiesberger shared second on 3-under with Japan's Hideki Matsuyama and American Brian Harman, who had afternoon starts.
In the first round, 41st-ranked Rose had bogeys at the first and seventh holes, then took apart a firm and fast Augusta National, an eagle at the eighth starting a 9-under run over 10 holes.
"It's a good reminder that you just never know what can happen out there, just to stick with it on the golf course," Rose said Thursday.
Rose could only muster a par at eight on Friday and also parred the ninth.
- Early birdie for Spieth -
South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout and an American trio -- Masters debutant Will Zalatoris, 2012 US Open champion Webb Simpson and 2018 Masters winner Patrick Reed -- were on 70 with afternoon tee times.
Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth, who snapped a four-year win drought last week in Texas, birdied the second to join the 2-under set.
World number three Jon Rahm, who only arrived at Augusta National on the eve of the event, was on par 72. The Spaniard was with his wife Kelley, who gave birth to son Kepa on Saturday.
Top-ranked defending champion Dustin Johnson opened on 74, as did Brooks Koepka, a four-time major winner coming off right knee surgery last month.
Second-ranked Justin Thomas, who can overtake Johnson for world number one with a victory this week, was on 73, as was another American, 2020 PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa.
Reigning US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau opened on 76, as did four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, who struggled to his worst opening round at the Masters.
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