Justin Rose breaks gridlock with 65 for lead in Dell at TPC Boston

Aug 31, 2018; Norton, MA, USA; Justin Rose hits his tee shot on the 16th hole during the first round of the Dell Technologies Championship golf tournament at TPC of Boston. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports Mark Konezny/USA TODAY Sports

Justin Rose breaks gridlock with 65 for lead in Dell at TPC Boston

PGA Tour

Justin Rose breaks gridlock with 65 for lead in Dell at TPC Boston

NORTON, Mass. – For most of the day, the leaderboard at the Dell Technologies Championship and the Mid-Cape Highway—the main road Labor Day Weekend vacationers use to reach the beaches and resorts on Cape Cod—shared something in common.

Gridlock.

Then, like a lone car that discovered a way around the traffic jam, Justin Rose made birdies at 15, 17 and 18 to post a 6-under 65 and take the overnight lead at TPC Boston.

As usual, Rose’s iron game was sharp. He hit 15 of 18 greens in regulation and finished third in the field in strokes gained approach the green (3.08), but the other parts of his game were rock solid too. Rose needed just 27 putts on Friday, he averaged 308 yards off the tee and he got up and down to save par on the three holes when he missed the green.

“I looked at the pins last night, and I thought there was an opportunity to make some birdies,” Rose said. “The pins were in accessible places. I felt clearly it was trickier than I thought last night. It was windier today, a cool breeze, just enough to swirl around and make it tricky.”

Rose noted that he was the only player to finish his round bogey-free and said, “I guess just keeping the card clean made the birdies really count for something.”

Scotland’s Russell Knox shot 66 by holing out a wedge shot from 109 yards out on 15 for eagle, making a birdie on 16 and then draining a 14-foot putt for a final birdie on the 18th hole.

Abraham Ancer also carded a late-day 66 to reach 5 under by making birdies on four of his final six holes.

Four players wound up two shots behind Rose’s 65, including Chris Kirk, Beau Hossler and Keegan Bradley, who all played in the morning wave and posted 4-under 67s. They were joined late in the day by Gary Woodland after he made birdies at 17 and 18 to also shoot 67.

Behind those seven players at the top of the leaderboard, there is massive congestion. Eight players finished at 3 under and 17 shot a 2-under 69, including Jordan Spieth, Henrik Stenson, Tony Finau, Brooks Koepka, Paul Casey and Alex Noren. In all, there are 31 players within four shots of Justin Rose’s lead.

A cold front went through southern New England on Thursday evening, lowering the temperature and reducing the humidity that had made TPC Boston feel more like a course in Baton Rouge. No rain fell and Friday morning dawned with sunshine and good scoring conditions, but the winds picked up throughout the day, confounding players and making birdies tougher to card.

“It was definitely a tough day out there, blustery wind that seemed to change directions a whole lot,” Kirk said.” I was very thankful to get out, take advantage of a lob wedge and gap wedge on the first two holes and make some birdies, and a few more there towards the end of the front nine.”

Hossler, playing the Dell Technologies Championship for the first time, said, “It was tough. It was windy, and the wind was switching direction. Truthfully anything under par is good today.”

Spieth, like Hossler, grew up playing in the winds of Texas. The three-time major winner said the conditions in Massachusetts made judging precisely what shots were going to do very hard.

“I love when the wind blows 10 to 15 miles an hour like it was today, but I’m not used to the swirls, and it moved from north to east the whole day,” he said. “I played one shot downwind and it would come up short, and then I’d have the same wind on another hole, play it across or into and it would be over the green. It’s just like one of those days that was kind of frustrating walking to the greens when I didn’t really do a whole lot wrong.”

Among the players who finished at 3 under were Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson and Xander Schauffele, the 2017 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year award winner who is trying to earn a captain’s pick onto the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

The table below lists The Bubble, players who started this week ranked No. 600 through No. 110 on the FedEx Cup point list. It also shows those players’ results through 18 holes at the Dell Technologies Championships and their projected positions. At the end of play on Sunday, only the top 70 players on the FedEx Cup point list advance to the next round of the playoffs, the BMW Championship.

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