Penalty costs Rose as Santos blooms
Golf:Justin Rose suffered a one-stroke penalty that left him three shots behind leader Ricardo Santos after the opening round of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters today.
Runner-up to Jamie Donaldson in Abu Dhabi last week, Rose had to be content with a four-under-par 68 after he was penalised a foot from the hole on the short 17th.
England’s world number four had missed his birdie attempt and was addressing the ball ready to tap in when he noticed it moved a fraction.
European Tour referee Paul Carrigill, himself a former player on the circuit, was called and with no wind to blame for the change in position he imposed the extra shot and told Rose to move the ball back before continuing.
The incident did not unsettle him, however. After holing for a bogey four the 32-year-old found the green in two at the 589-yard last and two-putted for his sixth birdie.
One of Rose’s playing partners was Ryder Cup team-mate Martin Kaymer. He was playing with Tiger Woods last Friday when the American incurred a two-stroke penalty for taking a wrong drop and missed the halfway cut because of it.
Rose told Sky Sports he felt “completely hard done by”, but accepted the penalty was correct.
“I think that’s happened to a lot of guys in the past. To cut to the chase, the greens aren’t perfect and have a lot of ridges and humps and hollows.
“It was just unfortunate timing that as I put my putter behind the ball, which I know didn’t cause the ball to move, the ball was finding some indentation.
“I’m deemed to have caused it to move even though in your heart of hearts you know you haven’t.
“There has been a change in the rule, but that only applies to a wind gust, when you are allowed to place it back without penalty.
“Unfortunately I was on the wrong end of it, but I guess that’s the good thing about golf - you have to self-police out there. Nobody else in the group saw it, but I knew the ball had moved when I addressed it.”
Santos, whose victory in Madeira last May made him the first Portuguese winner for 20 years and earned him the Rookie of the Year trophy, finished one in front of England’s Anthony Wall, Scot Peter Whiteford and Frenchman Alexandre Kaleka.
The 30-year-old from Faro made six unsuccessful trips to the qualifying school before coming through the Challenge Tour two years ago and his fourth-placed finish on Sunday has taken him back into the world’s top 200.
“My short game was really amazing,” he said after coming home in 31. “Last week gave me a lot of confidence, but I don’t want to put any more pressure on my shoulders, I just want to enjoy it.”
Londoner Wall has had only one victory in more than 400 Tour starts, but was a joint runner-up in the Irish Open last July and, like Whiteford, did not drop a stroke.