Rose leads British challenge at USPGA Championship

SHEBOYGAN, WI - AUGUST 11: Justin Rose of England waits on a green during a practice round prior to the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits on August 11, 2015 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Excellent recent form brings Justin Rose to the 2015 USPGA Championship with high expectations

Justin Rose might just be climbing the crest of a wave. The Englishman finished in a tie for sixth at The Open, in a tie for fourth at the Quicken Loans National on the PGA Tour a fortnight later, and then last week he held a share of the third-round lead at the Bridgestone Invitational before slipping to a tie for third in the end. Disappointment certainly, but four top-six results in his last three outings bode well for Rose this week in the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.

“I played really well last week but obviously there’s the frustration of not finishing it off,” said Rose yesterday at Whistling Straits, where the year’s final major begins tomorrow. “You go into the final round tied for the lead with a great player like Jim Furyk and you certainly never count your chickens like it's going to be an easy walk in the park on a Sunday. There were certain parts of my game that highlighted they needed a little bit of attention and that's what I focused on these last couple of days.

“But I feel like I'm trending in the right direction. Tied sixth at the Open, tied fourth, tied third - I'm moving towards the winner's circle so I'm coming into here with a lot of confidence.”

With world No. 1 Rory McIlroy arriving in Wisconsin carrying an injured ankle and lack of tournament golf over the past two months, Rose is leading the British challenge at Whistling Straits. The world No. 6 missed the cut at both previous PGA Championships at Whistling Straits, in 2004 and in 2010, but since then he has become the finished product on the world stage, as proven in winning the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion.

“My consistency feels like it's so much better than in those years past,” said Rose, 35, who shot a third round of 63, seven under par, last week at Firestone. “I feel I'm getting stronger as the year is going on. Last week was as good as I've played all year from tee to green. I drove the ball particularly well at Firestone, which was a huge advantage.

“Sunday was an awkward day, really. I'd been putting quite solidly all week. The three-putt (for par) on the second kind of set the tone a little bit, maybe got me a bit too tentative for the rest of the round and I wasn't able to shake it. I really needed to make a mid-range putt, make a birdie, get things back on track and wasn't able to do that.”

Rose hopes that a putter switch this week will complete a winning formula. He tees off in the first round tomorrow at 7:35am (1:35pm GMT) with Geoff Ogilvy and Brandt Snedeker.

Story courtesy of Mercedes-Benz, the Official Car of the 2015 PGA Championship.

Freelance Writer

Robin has worked for Golf Monthly for over a decade.