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Before the 2013 Masters even began, I predicted Justin Rose would earn his first major this week.
In a tie for seventh place at three-under par heading into Round 3, the young Englishman has to like his position at the moment.
Without three bogeys on the back nine Friday afternoon, Rose would sit close to the lead alongside Jason Day at six-under.
In his Masters career, Rose is 7-for-7 in terms of cuts made at Augusta National. In particular, his most recent Masters appearances include finishes of No. 8 in 2012 and No. 11 in 2011. To wrap up the 2012 majors season, he notched a No. 3 finish at the PGA Championship.
The world's No. 3-ranked golfer is now competing in his 35th major championship this week, although he's still searching for that elusive first major.
In an April 7 article, I noted the following key statistics indicative of a probable Masters run for Rose:
Stats That Matter Heading into Augusta National:
Scoring Average: No. 1 (68.68)
Back 9 Scoring Average: No. 1 (34.42)
Sand-Save Percentage: No. 1 (70.59)
Scrambling: No. 3 (71.62-precent)
Proximity to Hole from Sand: No. 4 (6'5'')
Par-5 Birdie or Better Leaders: No. 6 (57.50-percent)
In his stroke-play performances on the PGA Tour this year, Rose boasts finishes of No. 2 (Arnold Palmer Invitational), No. 8 (Cadillac Championship) and No. 4 (Honda Classic). It shouldn't be any real surprise that the Englishman is playing well thus far in the year's first major.
Don't be surprised if Rose is atop the leaderboard as play wraps up Sunday at Augusta.
He was my pick to win before the tournament began, and he still is my winner.