Justin Rose sent a strong message Thursday to Tommy Fleetwood and the rest of the field at the DP World Tour Championship.
Rose, it appears, is damn serious about winning this Race To Dubai title.
Thus it didn’t come as a huge surprise at the Earth Course at Jumeirah when the world’s sixth-ranked player put together an opening 66.
“Boy, he sure looks menacing,” is how one European Tour announcer described Rose after he holed a little two-footer at the 18th to clip points-leader Tommy Fleetwood by seven shots.
Fleetwood, unfortunately, got off to what has become his trademark lately — the slow start.
Fleetwood stumbled out of the starting blocks in the first round with a double-bogey six on his first hole and fought all day to keep himself out of a deep hole. In the end, he found himself tied for 46th while Rose is just a shot behind leader Patrick Reed’s 65.
“I was good off the tee for the most part. I struggled a bit with my irons — hit some chunks. I’m very confident — it’s about keeping mistakes off my card, my focus the rest of the week is to stay mentally sharp.”
Rose looks every bit of that. His big shot of the day came when he holed out from a greenside bunker for eagle at the par five 14th and came home with a 31.
Sergio Garcia, the only other player who can over-take Fleetwood for the title, shot a two-under par 70. Garcia needs to win the event to take the Race To Dubai title.