PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) – Justin Rose watched Adam Scott shoot 30 on his front nine Thursday, so he outdid his friend with a 29 on the back nine Friday at the PGA Championship.
Seems only appropriate for two guys born a couple of weeks apart who have followed similar paths ever since.
At the start of 2013, neither had a major title. Now both have the chance to become the third player in the last 15 years to win two in a season.
Scott, the Masters champion, headed into the weekend at 7 under, two strokes behind leader Jason Dufner. Rose, the U.S. Open champ, was 6 under.
“I was hungry before the Masters, and I might even have a bigger appetite after it,” Scott said after a 68 on Friday. “It might be greedy, but I feel like this is my time to get everything I want out of my career, and I’m going to keep pushing until I do. My game is in great shape. I’ve got to take advantage of it. Otherwise, it’s all a waste.”
The refrain that now is their moment to shine became famous with these two when Rose revealed what Scott texted him after the Aussie won his first major title. “This is our time” proved prophetic once the Englishman went out and broke through in his next opportunity for his first major victory.
This week, Scott looked ready to contend again right from the start, shooting 65 on Thursday to share the lead after the first round. Rose wasn’t as sharp early on and made the turn Friday at even par for the tournament.
Then the rain started clearing up and he started cranking out the birdies, six in all.
Rose has noticed how Scott ensures that his game peaks for the biggest four tournaments of the year. He believes he’s starting to do that, too.
“I feel like my game suits the tougher golf courses,” said Rose, who shot 66 in the second round after a 68 on Thursday.
He and Scott find themselves near the top of the leaderboard despite teeing off in the tougher morning session Friday. Their threesome had to play in pouring rain at times, while the afternoon group still enjoyed softer greens under the sun.
Dufner shot 63 to tie the record for a major. Perhaps he’ll join Scott and Rose in discarding the never-won-one label this year.
Or perhaps their newfound ease under pressure will make Scott or Rose a two-time major champion months after both were zero-time champs.
“It’s wonderful to be in this situation right now, talking about having done it, talking about feeling like you can win more, believing in yourself, not talking about how I hope it could happen this week,” Rose said.
Tiger Woods (who won multiple majors in 2000, 2002, 2005 and 2006) and Padraig Harrington (2008) are the only players to accomplish the feat since 1998.
“I think the platform has never been better for me to go on and win multiple majors,” Scott said. “I guess you’ve got to take the confidence and form of winning a major and run with it.”
He and Rose are both 33, and Scott isn’t shy about declaring the present as the best years of his career.
“I’m doing everything I can to make sure that they are,” he said, “and I can’t take my foot off the gas just because I achieved something great at Augusta.”
Scott will play in the last pair with Dufner on Saturday. Matt Kuchar and Jim Furyk were tied with Scott him at 7 under, while Rose will play with Henrik Stenson, also at 6 under.
“I sit here today, really relishing the opportunity on the weekend to try and win another major with no hesitation,” Rose said, “which there may have been a few years ago, because you don’t know how it’s going to pan out or how you’re going to deal with it.”
Now is the time that he and Scott know they can deal with the expectations and win at a major.
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