ATLANTA, May 4 (Reuters) Britain's Justin Rose was in optimistic mood after moving into contention with a two-under-par 70 at the Wachovia Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina today.
On a course ranked the seventh most difficult on the 2005 PGA Tour, Rose collected five birdies and three bogeys in the first round and hopes to maintain his form after an erratic season.
''It's a good opening round on a tough, tough golf course,'' the 25-year-old Englishman told reporters at Quail Hollow Club.
''I knew 69 would be a really good number out there.
''But I wouldn't call it form yet, to be honest. I didn't feel on top of my game completely out there today.
''I thought my way around very well, made the most of my good shots and limited the damage when I hit a bad shot. I also rolled the ball quite well on the greens, which was nice.'' Rose, playing his third full season on the PGA Tour, is determined to be more consistent after two top-10 finishes and four missed cuts in 11 starts.
''I've had flashes of playing really, really well and had a couple top 10s but I feel like just stringing together some good weeks, week-after-week, which is what I haven't done,'' he said.
''I've had a good week and then, for whatever reason schedule-wise, I've had a week off and come back and the form hasn't been quite as good as it was.
BUILDING MOMENTUM ''I just need to get a little bit of consistency going, build up a little momentum. Still, this is the first round to feel really good about recently, so I'm pleased with that.
''I feel like it's somewhere I can build from.'' South Africa-born Rose, who took the golfing world by storm when tying for fourth as an amateur at the 1998 British Open, enjoys the gruelling test of golf provided by courses like Quail Hollow.
''This tournament is like a major-type setup and you really prepare yourself mentally for tough rounds of golf, grinding it out and all that kind of stuff,'' he said.
''Sometimes when you turn up to a regular Tour event say, you don't quite have that battle and you're not quite prepared for battle.
''I missed all the majors last year and I really like this type of golf where you don't have to shoot six or seven under to be a really good score. I like to play courses that are difficult.'' Reuters VJ VP0152