Justin Rose faces uphill battle to defend his Hong Kong Open title

Justin Rose, shown at the 2016 Masters

Justin Rose faces uphill battle to defend his Hong Kong Open title

Euro Tour

Justin Rose faces uphill battle to defend his Hong Kong Open title

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Justin Rose faces an uphill battle to defend his Hong Kong Open title this week at Hong Kong Golf Club.

The Olympic gold medal winner arrives in the Far East after battling back problems at the end of this season. Rose went into hibernation after the Ryder Cup to try to give his back a rest. He teed it up in last week’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas only to withdraw after the opening round because of recurring problems.

“I’ve done everything I can the last few days to do everything I can to defend here,” said Rose, who edged Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard by a shot to win the 2015 Hong Kong Open.

“I’m making good progress. The journey over here seemed to go well and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’ve been working hard to be honest with you for seven weeks. I’ve been really excited about what I’ve seen in my game in practice. Last week was a mishap for sure, but I feel good about things in general. I feel optimistic about next year. Certainly I feel motivated and I feel hungry.”

Rose added that he is not as prepared entering this event as he would like to be.

“In terms of this week, it’s not ideal to come in here slightly undercooked preparation-wise but I’m hoping that the fact that I’ve been diligent and careful the last few days is going to allow me to be competitive for all four days,” Rose said. “I know my game plan and I know my strategy and I have good memories on which to draw. You never really forget how to compete. So once Thursday starts, hopefully the system gets up and running. This is a golf course I’ve played enough now to be able to see it blind this week, so to speak.”

The 2013 U.S. Open champion is part of a quality field for the $2 million event that includes Masters winners Danny Willett, Ryder Cup star Patrick Reed, 2010 champion Ian Poulter and three-time champion Miguel Angel Jimenez.

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