Justin Rose delighted after ‘gutsy’ recovery boosts British Masters title hopes

Justin Rose delighted after ‘gutsy’ recovery boosts British Masters title hopes

Justin Rose admitted he was delighted with a “gutsy” 73 which kept him in contention for a second Betfred British Masters title, 21 years after the first.

Rose held a one-shot lead after a superb opening 65 at The Belfry, but it was a different story on Friday as he covered his first 10 holes in four over par.

However, the former world number one rallied to card four birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine and finished the day on six under par, tied for the lead with France’s Antoine Rozner.

“It felt like a very, very tough day,” Rose said. “I got off to kind of a weird start, I didn’t feel like I was hitting poor shots and three-putted number one. The hole looked a little smaller for some reason.

“It wasn’t easy and this golf course holds up. Every year it has a pretty stout winning score and you can see why.

“I made some mistakes clearly, I was four over par at one point in my round, so actually delighted to bring it back and finish minus six.

“A good result out of the day I think and also generally feel pretty decent with how I played today. Just three three-putts and one or two little errors which crept in but not too bad considering what was a tough afternoon.

“I did readjust and tried say to myself I can make three birdies coming in down the last seven holes and that’s kind of how it played out.

Justin Rose
Justin Rose plays his second shot on the third hole during day two of the Betfred British Masters at The Belfry (David Davies/PA)

“It was a good gutsy finish I suppose and dinner will taste good because of that. Through 36 holes I’m in a great spot.”

Rose and Rozner enjoyed a one-shot lead over a seven-strong group of players which included defending champion Thorbjorn Olesen, former Ryder Cup players Oliver Wilson and Andy Sullivan and English amateur John Gough.

Sullivan dodged a fine for swearing as he moved into contention for a fifth DP World Tour title with a second round of 68, the 37-year-old Midlander making five birdies in the space of six holes from the 12th.

“It was good. I played really well today,” Sullivan said, who was part of the European team beaten by the United States at Hazeltine in 2016.

“I missed an eight-footer on 11 which did get a massive expletive. Luckily the cameras weren’t there as I would have got fined, and then I got going after that.

Andy Sullivan
England’s Andy Sullivan lies a shot off the lead at the halfway stage of the Betfred British Masters (Brian Lawless/PA)

“I felt the momentum and obviously having a home crowd behind you is nice, local crowd and quite a few out there today, so it’s good when you get the roars going and you get them going, you feel like your energy is up today.”

Sullivan joked that it had been a “pain in the a***” to secure tickets for all his friends and family, but Olesen was certainly appreciating the support of the sizeable crowds.

“It was great from early doors this morning,” the Dane said. “There was a lot of people and good atmosphere the whole way around, so it’s always fun to play in front of that.

Thorbjorn Olesen
Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark on the fourth hole during day two of the Betfred British Masters at The Belfry (David Davies/PA)

“I didn’t think it was that easy today. It was quite windy but I had some really nice up-and-downs to keep the round going which was very important. I’m pretty happy with today.”

Scotland’s Ewen Ferguson and Robert MacIntyre lie two shots off the lead on four under par, while Welshman Jamie Donaldson slipped four strokes off the pace after following his opening 66 with a 76.

Compatriot Rhys Enoch holed out from 220 yards with a four iron to make an albatross on the par-five third hole, a second round of 69 leaving him one under par.