SOUTHAMPTON, Bermuda (AP) – U.S. Open champion Justin Rose birdied the first hole with a blind shot he hit to a foot of the pin, and he stayed in front Tuesday until he completed a 4-under 67 for a two-shot lead over Jason Dufner in PGA Grand Slam of Golf.
The 36-hole exhibition, which concludes Wednesday, is for the four major champions of the year. British Open champion Phil Mickelson chose not to play and was replaced at Port Royal Golf Course by three-time major champion Padraig Harrington.
Dufner, who won the PGA Championship, opened with a 69. Masters champion Adam Scott struggled late in the wind for a 70. Harrington, who won the PGA Grand Slam last year as an alternate, shot 74.
Rose opened the round with a shot so far off line that he was in the rough near the second fairway. Facing a blind approach over trees and water, he cut a 6-iron to tap-in range for birdie.
“It should have been the shot of the day,'' Rose said. “It followed the worst shot of the day.''
Rose made three more birdies on the front nine and was tied briefly by Dufner and Scott. But while Dufner and Scott struggled on the back nine as the wind picked up, Rose challenged the course record until bogeys on the 13th and 14th holes. Rose made an 8-foot par putt on the 15th, and he was the only player to make par on the 16th.
Harrington said he might skip a few tournaments toward the end of the year because of too much golf.
“Already in my head, (I have) pulled out of another two events during the winter to give me a long winter break,'' Harrington said. “And it will be probably the longest winter break I've taken probably since I won my majors. I played stale golf, tired golf. There's not a shadow of a doubt that I am completed over-golfed at this very moment.''