The clever mental trick that helped Justin Rose take the 36-hole Masters lead

justin rose smiles

Justin Rose struggled early during his second round at the Masters, but then he employed a clever mental trick that got his game on track.

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Justin Rose closed his opening round at the Masters as well as he could’ve hoped, but the start to his second round was a harsh reminder of how difficult Augusta National can be when you get out of position.

Rose’s four-shot lead to start the day began to dwindle just as soon as he sailed his opening tee shot far right into the trees. He bounced back with a birdie on the 2nd, but three more bogeys followed over the next five holes. His once healthy lead had vanished.

As he stepped to the 8th tee box, Rose’s game looked completely different from what we’d seen less than 24 hours earlier. Rose was in real danger of firing a huge number for the day if he didn’t turn things around quickly.

justin rose
Justin Rose’s stunning first round made a wickedly hard Augusta National look welcoming
By: Michael Bamberger

“It seemed a little more elusive today, no doubt,” Rose said. “I was joking, the finger was heading towards the panic button a little bit.”

At that exact moment, Rose drew a line on his scorecard. It was a clever mental trick that shifted his mindset and turned his day around completely.

“I just changed my mindset a little bit and started to play match play against the golf course,” he said. “[I] told myself I was three down and could I go ahead and beat the golf course from that point on.”

The trick worked.

Much like his back-nine flurry on Thursday, Rose flipped the switch on No. 8. The line he drew on the scorecard changed everything. From there on in, he was a different player.

Rose didn’t make a bogey the rest of the way home. He steadied himself with pars on Nos. 8 through 12 and then took advantage when he needed to. He birdied 13 and 14 before adding another circle to his card at No. 16. With the lead back safely in his grasp, there was only one matter left to tend to — his match with the golf course.

“I had a putt on 18 to win my match 1-up, but unfortunately it just slipped by,” Rose said. “But an honorable draw.”

He might not have beaten the golf course quite as handily as he did on Thursday, but Rose did get the best of everyone else in the field. A 36-hole lead at the Masters is always a good position to be in.

Golf.com Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF.com, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and is the staff’s self-appointed development tour “expert.”