Rose makes timely burst into Ryder Cup selection bloom

Fatiha Betscher

Justin Rose (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

Fatiha Betscher

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The sight of Justin Rose bursting into bloom on day one of the BMW PGA Championship could not be better timing.

Rose, 41, didn’t drop a shot in an impressive five-under par 67 to be trailing just three shots behind the leading duo of Thailand’s Kiradech Aphribarnrat and South African Christian Bezuidenhout who head the ‘Burma Road’ field by a shot with eight-under par 64s.

Aphribarnrat capped his round near lunch with five birdies in succession from the 10th hole while Bezuidenhout, who recently joined Aphribarnrat as a fellow 2021/22 PGA Tour member, highlighted his round with a fourth hole eagle and then three birdies in a row before ending his day with another hat-trick of birdies, including holing a curling birdie putt on the 18th.

Rose is seeking a first victory since early 2019 in winning on the PGA Tour for a 10th time in his career while there’s the goal also of earning a ‘wildcard’ pick in Padraig Harrington’s European team. The Englishman has been a member of the past five Ryder Cup’s and deep down would dearly love to make that a half-dozen in being on the flight later this month to Wisconsin.

“I haven’t really paid tons of attention in terms of what I have to do, I’ve just been trying to focus on my game and my form,” said Rose.

“That’s what I’m focusing on. I can appreciate how many scenarios are still in play this week, but one of them being me winning a golf tournament and making the team outright. So, this gives me the option to focus on something positive for the remainder of the week.”

Rose is contesting the opening two rounds alongside long-time good friend, Adam Scott with the Aussie pipping Rose for day one honours in shooting a seven-under 65 in Scott’s first showing at Wentworth since 2006. And Scott was full of praise for Rose and no doubt mirroring what Padraig Harrington may be thinking in seeing Rose returning to form.

“He’s world class, one of the best players of this generation,” said Scott.

“When the pressure’s on, just like the Ryder Cup, Justin’s lifted himself so many times, whether it’s Ryder Cup or any other tournament. Major champion, World No 1, you’ve got something in you to be able to do that kind of stuff, so I’m not surprised. It’s nice to see.

“As for Justin getting a captain’s pick, I have no idea what Padraig is thinking, but I think he’d be happy seeing these guys with experience play well. It might make it more difficult for him, but that’s a good position to be in.”

Rose arrived at Wentworth lying well down in 19th position on the ‘European’ qualifying table and 16th on the ‘World’ table and in a pool of some five players looking for one of three Harrington picks.

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