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Golf | European Tour

Sunshine comes Just-in time as Rose blooms with 69



Britain's Justin Rose was relieved to feel the sun on his back again at the PGA Championship on Saturday and the world No 4 took advantage with a three-under-par 69.

Most of the players contesting the European Tour's flagship event at Wentworth struggled to cope with wintry conditions on the first two days.

The eight-degree temperatures and winds gusting up to 20-mph finally gave way to blue skies and warm sunshine in the third round and Rose blossomed as four birdies helped him glide gently through the field.

"It's nice to play golf in decent weather again," the 32-year-old told Reuters in an interview after returning a one-under aggregate of 215. "I hit the ball a lot better today than I did the first couple of days.

"When you are wearing four or five layers of clothing, and waterproofs, it's hard to get a feel for your swing."

The so-called British summer hampers Rose more than most because these days he is a resident of Florida where the weather is perfect for golf all year round.

"I definitely lost my swing a bit yesterday but I hit some better shots today," the Englishman added. "Hopefully that will give me a little more confidence to go out there tomorrow and shoot up the leaderboard.

"It was a hard day on Friday especially. When the wind is howling you try to trap the ball low and move the weight down more on your left side and you can get into some bad habits.

"I had a nice warm up on the practice range this morning. I went back to basics, checked my alignment, posture, setup, all those sorts of things, and played better."

EXCEPTIONAL ROUND

Rose came close to winning the European Tour's Abu Dhabi Championship in January, ending up tied second to fellow Briton Jamie Donaldson after missing a 12-foot putt at the last hole that would have set up a playoff.

He has also achieved three top-10 finishes in the United States this year without finding that breakthrough victory.

Rose was in the form of his life in 2012, winning his first World Golf Championship title at the Cadillac event in Florida and taking second place in the European circuit's season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

He also played a key role in Europe's victorious Ryder Cup campaign in Illinois in September, rolling in a snaking 35-foot putt at the 17th on the way to beating Phil Mickelson in the final-day singles.

"My game feels okay right now and I just feel as though I'm waiting for a spark," said Rose. "I'm not really scoring very well at the moment, I'm hitting some good shots and not really capitalising.

"I'm close to playing well, I think I just need a tiny bit of confidence. I birdied three of the four par-fives today, just missed out on the 17th.

"They were all pretty solid birdies, up and around the green in two shots, and I also hit it to one foot from the pin for a two at the 14th," said Rose.

"The whole field is closely bunched together this week and I'm far enough up the leaderboard where a great round tomorrow can help me work my way through the field into the top 10 or even the top five with an exceptional round."

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