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Mixed start for Rose at Travelers

ESPN staff
June 20, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Justin Rose recovered on the back nine holes on the opening day © Getty Images
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Travelers Championship leaderboard

Recently-crowned US Open champion Justin Rose endured a mixed start to his Travelers Championship campaign after he ended the first round six shots behind leader Charley Hoffman.

The 32-year-old lifted his maiden major at Merion on Sunday to become the ninth Englishman to win the US Open, and the first since Sir Nick Faldo in 1996 to claim a major, but on the opening day on the greens of TPC River Highlands, Rose finished the first round on three-under by carding a 67.

Rose kicked off the day in fine style with a 14-foot putt for birdie after a good approach to the green from 141 yards.

However, the Englishman encountered problems in three of the remaining eight holes on the front nine. He bogeyed on the third after missing a par putt from seven feet, and then repeated the mistake on the next. The woes did not end there as on the sixth Rose found the rough and missed par from four feet.

Rose recovered with a birdie from 20 feet on the following hole, and rounded off the front nine with two tap-in pars.

Rose landed a couple of solid pars at the beginning of the back nine - including an 11-footer on the 10th to avoid another bogey - and began to climb the leaderboard with consecutive birdies on the 12th and 13th holes.

Another pair of birdies continued to help Rose - with the one made on the 16th expertly drained from 14 feet - but he missed the chance to secure two more birdies by the closest of margins on the final two holes.

Hoffman stormed into the lead on the 15th hole after making eagles on both the 10th and 13th holes, coupled with five birdies to lead Hunter Mahan by one shot with a nine-under 61.

Mahan fired an opening round of 62 to top the standings for the majority of the day thanks to a scorecard which was bogey-free, and consisted of eight birdies.

River Highlands tends to bring the best out of Mahan, as he sealed his maiden victory here in 2007 and has finished a runner-up twice as well.

"The putter was strong today," Mahan, who finished in a tie for fourth at the US Open, said. "I made a lot of really good putts. I made some putts that weren't really easy there, that were kind of tricky. So I feel really pleased with how I played."

Bubba Watson is in third with a seven-under 63, while Lee Westwood only managed to score three-under 67, but the Englishman recovered from a double bogey on the third and performed strongly on the final nine, sinking four birdies to finish.

Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington hit a four-under 66, as did defending champion Marc Leishman, and the pair are one shot off Americans John Merrick and Webb Simpson.

Rod Pampling and Camilo Villegas are also on five-under.

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