In the opening round of the 2012 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, Justin Rose sinks a 52-foot birdie putt on the par-3 18th hole.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ATLANTA -- A year ago, Justin Rose entered the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola ranked third in the FedExCup. He knew he could win the $10 million bonus with a victory at East Lake but tied for 20th instead as Bill Haas played the role of the spoiler.
This year, Rose finds himself in Haas' position. The Englishman came into the week ranked 24th -- one spot higher than Haas was when he claimed the dual victories -- and the pressure is off.
"From the FedExCup point of view, it's a position of having nothing to lose, really," Rose explained. "Obviously, I'd like to be much higher up the rankings and that's the scenario from last year. Last year I didn't factor in the tournament, and this year maybe being a little bit looser out there is going to help me.
"I think I've only got this tournament on my mind. A lot of the other guys have two trophies on their minds. So I think I'll steal it if I end up winning both of them. But it will be nice to know."
Rose lent credence to those words, too, when he fired a 66 that included a 52-foot birdie on the final hole.
Rose said East Lake places a premium on hitting fairways, and with just seven in his Thursday stats he knows he can improve. He likes the way his putter is responding, though, with 26 in the first round, and he's looking forward to the rest of the week.
"I kind of looked at the leaderboards to gauge how the course was playing and how the boys were doing out there, and obviously, I realized it was time to be patient," Rose said. "No one was really going low. 1 or 2 under is going to be a good score today, so I always had that in the back of my mind."