Golf: Rose blossoms in school race

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The Independent Online
JUSTIN ROSE produced the best pressure round of his life today to qualify for the European Tour School in Spain in November.

The 18-year-old from Hampshire fired a five-under-par 67 at Chart Hills in Kent to finish on 215 - one under par for three rounds - good enough to secure ninth place with 10 school spots on offer.

Rose, who has struggled since turning professional following his fourth- place finish at the Open, was elated. "It could have been one of those days when I put in a great effort and just fell short," Rose said. "But I guess you could say everything was rosy.

"I didn't put too much pressure on myself. I knew there was another pre- qualifier but if you keep thinking you've got another chance then you run out of chances. I knew today was my day and I was really focused on going for it."

After shooting two rounds of 74, Rose showed his true quality in a round with five birdies and no dropped shots. Four over par at the start, Rose began steadily with a series of pars, chipping and holing out from six foot at the par-three 11th - his second hole of the day.

At the par-four 13th, where he found water on his second round, Rose's drive was exemplary, and on a windless day his long game was so far showing no signs of the hooking that plagued him previously.

Rose's birdie came at the par-five 12th where an excellent tee-shot and precise drive left him with a putt of just three feet. After six holes, Rose was one under for his round and three over for the tournament.

"I was mentally prepared," he said. "I'm a better player when I have a target to aim for - more fiery and it helps. Sometimes you can be too laid-back."

The German Masters in Cologne next week could see Rose secure his tour card with a top-four finish. But the star of this year's Open is keeping his feet on the ground.

"Things went for me, when before luck hasn't always been on my side since I turned pro," he said. "The main thing for me was to get to final qualifying, because at least when you're there even if things go badly you still have some options.

"I'm looking forward to Germany next week and in October I might go out to Lake Nona in Florida and stay with a friend of mine."