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May 2, 2014

Rose’s nose all that’s bothering him at Quail Hollow

Justin Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champion, is the rare familiar name atop the Wells Fargo leader board. He’s been close to the lead for much of the first two days and he hopes his game is returning after a shoulder injury.

Justin Rose’s balky shoulder hasn’t been his main health concern during the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s allergy season and Rose has sniffled and sneezed his way around Quail Hollow Club for much of the week. Friday wasn’t a bad day for Rose, with just a hint of a breeze in the morning and cloudy skies.

“The allergies are better because of that,” said Rose, who shot a 5-under 67 Friday and is one shot behind leaders Angel Cabrera and Martin Flores at 8-under (136).

Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champion, is the rare familiar name atop the Wells Fargo leader board. He’s been close to the lead for much of the first two days, shooting a 3-under 69 on Thursday to go with his 67 Friday. He’s hoping his game is returning to form heading into this year’s U.S. Open in Pinehurst. He missed time this year recovering from tendinitis in his shoulder and said he is just now getting back to full strength.

Although he played through the injury for the rest of the 2013 season, Rose didn’t start playing in 2014 until the Northern Trust Open in February.

“I’ve been feeling good for a number of weeks and on the driving range for at least a month,” said Rose. “Sometimes it’s a lag effect before it shows up on the golf course, but I’ve just felt like I needed to string a bit of rounds together. I’ve had a lot of stop-starts this year and I felt like I needed to get toned and sharp. That’s beginning to show up.”

Rose hurt the shoulder throwing a ball about 70 yards to caddie Mark Fulcher – who was behind Rose and raking a bunker – at The Barclays last August.

Rose’s round Friday was highlighted by an eagle on No. 15. He chipped in from 69 feet on the par-5 hole.

“It was a nice chip-in,” said Rose. “Obviously those cheap eagles get you going.”

Rose has an eye on Pinehurst, which is now just weeks away. He hasn’t won since his U.S. Open victory last June at Merion Golf Club in suburban Philadelphia.

“If you win a major and then don’t win in the next 12 months, it would be nice to go back with the confidence of having just won a tournament,” said Rose, who is ranked 10th in the world. “If I can do that in the next month or so, that would give me a lot more confidence going to Pinehurst and trying to defend.”

He likes his chances this weekend at Quail Hollow.

“I’ll be around exactly where I need to be (Saturday), in the last couple of groups,” he said. “Saturday is all about keeping pace with the leaders. Sunday, as we all know, it’s the strongest man of the day.”

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