Sport Golf

Wednesday 1 March 2017

Rose makes strong case for defence in New Orleans

Phil Casey

Justin Rose will look to successfully defend a title for the first time in his professional career in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Photo: PA
Justin Rose will look to successfully defend a title for the first time in his professional career in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Photo: PA

Justin Rose will look to successfully defend a title for the first time in his professional career in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, an event where he has an impressive recent record.

Former US Open champion Rose, who has not played since finishing tied for 10th in the Masters, has not been outside the top 15 on his last four outings at TPC Louisiana. Since missing the cut in 2011, the 35-year-old Ryder Cup star has finished 10th, 15th, eighth and first and is a total of 60-under par, with his last 16 rounds all at par or better.

"I know defending is difficult," Rose said. "I think obviously winning is difficult, so therefore defending is difficult just as a by-product of that. You almost have more chance of defending than you do winning because you're coming in on good memories."

Rose's two-week break after the Masters will be his last for the foreseeable future due to a hectic summer schedule caused by golf's return to the Olympic Games for the first time since 1904.

Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Vijay Singh have all opted out of the chance to play in Rio, but Rose is keen to experience being part of Team GB.

"The opportunity to play in the Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he said.

World No 1 Jason Day is also in the field as he looks to bounce back from a third round of 79 when tied for the lead in the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head in his last event.

Meanwhile, Damien McGrane and Michael Hoey are the only Irish players in action on the main tours this week. The pair contest the Volvo China Open at the Topwin County Club in Beijing.

Volvo China Open

Live, Sky Sports 4, 7.30am

Zurich Classic of New Orleans

Live, Sky Sports 4, 8.0pm

Irish Independent

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