Justin Rose jokes ‘smoke and mirrors’ behind second-round 70 at testing Oak Hill

Justin Rose admitted his second round of 70 was not quite what it seemed as he remained in contention to double his major tally in the 105th US PGA Championship.

Rose shot level par on Friday to post a halfway total of one under par, despite hitting only two fairways in regulation at a fiendishly difficult Oak Hill.

“Smoke and mirrors I guess,” the former Olympic champion said with a smile when asked how he had pulled it off.

“I had a few fair lies in the rough, to be honest. When I did catch a bad lie I took my medicine and pitched out and tried to avoid the big number. I felt like making a bogey or two around here is no big deal.

“The fact that I made 10 birdies [in two rounds] is remarkable considering how I’ve put the ball in play off the tee.

“Iron play I felt was pretty good and obviously I have made some really nice mid-range putts. There’s definitely been some highlights in the game the last couple of days.

“Lots to look forward to and to have kind of going into the weekend, but kind of nice to know that I can maybe try and tighten a few things up as well.”

Rose won the 2013 US Open at Merion with a total of one over par and is relishing another tough challenge over the weekend.

Justin Rose
Justin Rose chips to the green on the 17th hole during the second round of the US PGA Championship (Seth Wenig/AP)

“I think historically I’ve won typically on harder golf courses than not, so I think it fits my profile from that point of view,” he added.

“This is right up there. This feels a little bit of a hybrid kind of PGA/US Open this week. I’m looking forward to the test, I think.

“I thought four under par would be the winning score before the tournament started. It’s very hard to hit the ball in the fairway right now. The fairways are so firm that that’s what’s kind of making them so hard to hit.”