By Matt Smith
ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Justin Rose declared himself happy with his short game after shooting a three-under par 69 in the second round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on Friday, but said he had much to work on following a sluggish start to the year.
World number six Rose, the third-highest ranked player appearing at the event in the UAE capital, is in danger of missing the cut after a first-round 73.
The Englishman is two-under for the tournament and could only look on as playing partner Martin Kaymer sizzled with scores of 64 and 67 to be clubhouse leader.
“I didn’t play well at all, in fact I played awfully, but you get yourself into situations where sometimes you have to work hard to make a cut,” Rose told Reuters.
“Hopefully, it gives me two more days to work on my game and get some momentum going as I start the season.
“I’ve certainly got a lot of work to do. I was happy with my short game coming in, under pressure, grinding to make pars when I needed to, so that’s a good sign.”
Rose began Friday with an opening hole birdie, bogeyed his fifth and then picked up shots at his seventh and ninth. He created few chances thereafter until lofting his tee-shot on his par-three 16th to within two feet of the pin.
He made no mistake from that distance and then sunk an eight-foot par putt on the final green.
“To make the first pressure putt of the year -- there are some positives,” said the 2013 U.S. Open champion.
“I’m not concerned about my long game, it’s the strength of my game normally, so hopefully that should click back into gear. I was proud of the way I battled away today.”
Rose finished joint-second in his only previous Abu Dhabi appearance, in 2013, but said he was not frustrated he has so far failed to reproduce that form. He will also play next week’s Qatar Masters.
“I was looking at both of these weeks as my pre-season,” South Africa-born Rose said.
“There’s a good field here, you want to contend, but I was very aware I was going to have to see how my game went.
“I still feel capable of a couple of mid-60s around here if I get going but whatever happens I’ll take positives out of this week that I’ll be able to build upon.”
(editing by Justin Palmer)