Last Updated: 12/06/14 10:44pm
Justin Rose: Had to dig deep
Justin Rose kept alive his hopes of winning back-to-back US Open titles with a battling first round 72 at Pinehurst.
Despite having the best of the conditions, Rose was four over par after nine holes, but birdied three of the next five before a duffed chip on the eighth cost him a fifth bogey of the day.
"I've got to play some great golf the rest of the week," Rose said after finishing on a two-over-par 72. "I had to do that pretty much no matter whether you shot 66 today or 72. If I shot 66 I wouldn't be here thinking, well, that's won me the tournament. A 72 certainly hasn't lost me the tournament.
"I was telling myself if I get it back to two over and then shoot one under each for the next two days... that's the way I try to break it down.
"I shot two under on the back nine today and got myself back to two over, and even par is within striking distance. If I play well I feel I can get it under par."
The 33-year-old, looking to become the first player since Curtis Strange in 1989 to make a successful title defence, added: "Being a different golf course I never really treated it as being defending champion.
"It was always going to be a new test so I just try to focus on the golf course. I feel like I'm playing pretty free out there. I feel like I'm playing the golf course more aggressively each day."
Matthias Bachinger is relishing taking on former champion Andy Murray in the second round at the US Open on Thursday.
Colin Montgomerie says US Open winner Martin Kaymer was 'head and shoulders' above the rest of the field at Pinehurst.
Butch Harmon says Martin Kaymer is playing better than ever and made his US Open victory 'look easy'.