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Justin Rose sights set firmly on majors
November 30, 2011

Justin Rose has savoured success on five continents in his professional career but the Briton is more determined than ever to make his breakthrough in one of the sport’s four major championships.

The 31-year-old enjoyed a welcome return to top form with a third PGA Tour title at the BMW Championship in September but the Englishman is already focusing his attention on winning one of golf’s more prestigious events in 2012.

“I don’t want to put too much emphasis on the majors, but I want to compete next year with them in mind,” he told Reuters ahead of this week’s Hong Kong Open.

“I know that if my game is ready every single week, I feel as though I can go into the majors not changing anything,” he added.

“So I will be trying to get myself into a great routine and let it happen.

“Also, I feel as though the majors are a stepping stone right now. I feel like the tournaments I’ve won, I’m building up nicely and outside of the World Golf Championships, the majors are the next step up the ladder.”

Despite capturing a 10th professional title with the FedExCup playoff event win in Illinois, Rose endured a less than spectacular season in the majors.

He started well by grabbing a share of 11th place at the U.S. Masters, but then missed the halfway cut at the U.S. Open, finished down in 44th place at the British Open before also missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

“Overall, I am pretty happy with my season as it’s been a good year to back up a great season last year when I won twice, and for a first time in my career, in the United States,” he said.

“I won another tournament in the U.S. and anytime you win, it makes for a positive season.

“I also feel that I have become a better, better golfer this year as I have struck the ball well all year and mentally, I’ve made some big improvements.

“I’m now looking forward to the off-season to cement more of those into my game, so I can come out next year as good as I have ever been.”

Rose has now competed in 31 majors and while he has fifth-place finishes at a U.S. Open (2003) and the Masters (2007), his best performance continues to be the stunning fourth he achieved as an amateur at the 1998 British Open at Royal Birkdale.

He turned professional a week later at the Dutch Open and despite an immediate run of 21 missed cuts, the South African-born Rose has since established himself as one of the world’s best golfers.

Rose will tee-up in Hong Kong this Thursday ranked 16th in the world and the next-highest rated player at the $2.75 million co-sanctioned event behind number two Rory McIlroy.

He will play the opening two rounds in the company of former Hong Kong winner Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain and 2009 PGA champion YE Yang of South Korea.

And the challenge facing Rose around the tight, tree-lined suburban Fanling course is to shoot as low as possible after fellow Briton Ian Poulter won last year’s title with a 22-under-par total.

“I don’t get to play old-style golf courses like this one here in Hong Kong and given the nature of the course, the challenge will be to make as many birdies as you can,” he added.

“Weeks like this you have to keep hitting the ball close with your wedges, but you also have to be patient because it does seem a kind of course where you can get frustrated.”

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