AUGUSTA, Ga. — When he made the turn on his first round at Augusta, Justin Rose was one under par, two strokes back of the leaders and mired in a morass of similar decent-but-not-great scores.
Nine holes later, Rose was four strokes up on the entire field, holding his sixth career after-round lead at the Masters. It's the most ever by anyone who's never won a green jacket ... so could this be the year at last? He's rocketed from an 80-1 long shot to a +325 favorite, ahead of everyone else in the field.
Rose absolutely torched Augusta's back nine, including a run that began on 12 and went birdie, birdie, par, birdie, birdie, birdie. His run, which ended with Rose at -7, ties him with Sam Snead for the most leads. Only Arnold Palmer (14), Jack Nicklaus (13) and Raymond Floyd, Gary Player and Jordan Spieth (8) have held more leads than Rose.
Moreover, Rose's four-stroke lead is just one off the largest all-time lead: 5 strokes, set by Craig Wood all the way back in 1941. (Spoiler: Wood won.)
Rose has five top-10 finishes at the Masters, most notably 2017, when he lost to Sergio Garcia on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff. He also finished tied for second in 2015, four strokes behind Spieth.
Since 2017, he'd gone T12-Cut-T23. He hasn't won a major since the 2013 U.S. Open, and it certainly appeared Rose's window was closing. But going nine under over 11 holes will do wonders for one's outlook.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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