In the opening round of the British Masters, England’s Justin Rose emerged as the frontrunner, holding a one-shot lead over Jamie Donaldson.
Rose, currently ranked 31st in the world, showcased his skills at The Belfry, delivering an impressive performance. With a remarkable display of eight birdies and only one bogey, he recorded a stellar seven-under-par 65.
Not far behind, Donaldson, Rose’s former Ryder Cup teammate and aged 47, made a late surge in his round, birdying five out of the last six holes to finish with a score of 66, just one stroke behind the leader.
Reflecting on his exceptional round, Rose, 42, expressed satisfaction, stating, “I think that’s the cleanest round of golf I’ve played in a long, long time. I felt very comfortable with my game from the first shot.”
Rose, a previous winner of the British Masters in 2002 and host of the event in 2018, had experienced a disappointment at the recent US Open, failing to make the cut. Following a week off and minimal practice, Rose emphasized the importance of the early part of the week to regain his focus. He added, “It’s nice to get off to a good, positive start.”
The British Masters presents an opportunity for players to secure a place in the upcoming Open Championship. Those who are not already exempt and finish in the top three at the British Masters will earn their spot in the prestigious tournament.
Currently, Donaldson sits two shots ahead of Germany’s Yannik Paul and English amateur John Gough, while James Morrison of England, Sebastian Garcia of Spain, and Adrien Saddier of France also posted solid scores at four under par.
Donaldson, who played a pivotal role in Europe’s victory at Gleneagles in 2014, aims to rise from his current position of 310th in the world rankings and secure his place at Royal Liverpool. He expressed his desire to avoid the qualifier at West Lancashire golf club, saying, “It would be great to do it here and save having to play 36 holes in one day.”
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