Justin Rose sets the early pace with 63 as golf returns from three-month hiatus

English golfer opens one-shot lead after morning play at the Charles Schwab Challenge

Justin Rose hit the ground running as golf returned from a three-month hiatus with the Charles Schwab Challenge on Thursday.

Rose held the clubhouse lead in Fort Worth, Texas after the early starters finished their rounds, having shot a blemish-free round of 63 in the first major tournament since the coronavirus pandemic shut down the sport.

The world number 14, starting on the back nine, birdied four of the his first seven holes and then picked up shots on each of the first three holes after making the turn.

That gave him a one-shot lead over Venezuelan Jhonattan Vegas and Mexico's Abraham Ancer.


Dustin Johnson did not enjoy his own return to action quite so much as the world number five stumbled to a one-over 71, carding four bogeys in a rusty round.

Ian Poulter was in a group tied for 10th place after a round of 66 while Phil Mickelson – fresh from his challenge matches with Tiger Woods during the shutdown – could only manage a one-under 69 to sit in a share of 38th place.

Graeme McDowell also carded a 69 after opening his round with 11 straight pars before the first of two dropped shots in three holes came at the par-four second.

He carded his first birdie of the day on the third hole and further gains on the sixth and eighth got him back under par for his round.

Shane Lowry failed to fire on his first day back at the office, two bogeys and a solitary birdie seeing the Offaly man sign for a one-over 71.

World No 1 Rory McIlroy is among the late starters.

The 8:46 am tee time was left vacant as golfers stopped play to observe a moment of silence to honour George Floyd, the black man who died last month after a white police officer knelt on his neck.

It was a solemn scene as golfers and caddies stood with their heads bowed during a time slot selected to reflect how long – eight minutes and 46 seconds – the officer’s knee was on Floyd’s neck.

Early first round leaderboard

(USA unless stated, par 70):

63 Justin Rose (Eng)

64 Abraham Ancer (Mex), Jhonattan Vegas (Ven)

65 Daniel Berger, Gary Woodland, Bryson DeChambeau, Tom Lehman, Adam Hadwin (Can), Brian Harman

66 Vaughn Taylor, Ian Poulter (Eng), Branden Grace (Rsa), Sungjae Im (Kor), Cameron Champ, Ryan Moore, Corey Conners (Can)

67 Matthew Wolff, Doc Redman, Jason Kokrak, Alex Noren (Swe), Lucas Glover, Keith Mitchell, Brice Garnett

68 JT Poston, Joel Dahmen, Brian Stuard, Rory Sabbatini (Svk), Jason Dufner, Andrew Landry, Patrick Reed

69 Pat Perez, Graeme McDowell (N Irl), Robby Shelton, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Kevin Streelman, Phil Mickelson, Marc Leishman (Aus), Victor Perez (Fra), Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa), Mackenzie Hughes (Can)

70 Bernhard Langer (Ger), Henrik Norlander (Swe), Viktor Hovland (Nor), Chesson Hadley, Charles Howell III, Danny Lee (Nzl), Max Homa, Bill Haas, Jimmy Walker, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa)

71 Dustin Johnson, Brendan Steele, Wyndham Clark, Shane Lowry (Irl), Doug Ghim, Chez Reavie

72 Brian Gay, Ryan Palmer, Tom Lewis (Eng), Kyoung-hoon Lee (Kor), Tyler McCumber, Tom Hoge, Harris English, Kevin Na, Jim Herman

73 Steve Stricker, Kevin Tway, Troy Merritt

74 Beau Hossler, Patton Kizzire, Olin Browne

75 JJ Henry, Russell Knox (Sco)

76 Scott Harrington