By Martyn Herman
HOYLAKE England (Reuters) - World number three Justin Rose moved into contention at the British Open with two successive chip-ins igniting his challenge on Friday during a two-under second round 70.
The Englishman was plodding along in unspectacular fashion at a blustery Royal Liverpool course when the 2013 U.S. Open champion produced two sublime moments of brilliance.
At the par-three ninth his tee shot stopped 20 feet short of the green but his subsequent chip and run trundled along the silky grass and straight into the cup.
Then, after reaching the edge of the green at the 532-yard par-five 10th in two blows, he pulled off an almost identical lob for an audacious eagle.
He had also saved par at the eighth with a long-range putt and Rose, who won two successive tournaments coming into the Open, believes that sequence could prove pivotal to his hopes of winning the Claret Jug for the first time.
"If I do go on to win, that little stretch there would be a turning point, for sure," the 33-year-old Rose, who is two-under for the tournament, told reporters.
"They were both probably 60 feet from the pin and I feel those two chip-ins got my tournament going.
"But what it's done right now is give me an opportunity to go into the weekend."
Rose also birdied the last but was ultimately a little frustrated after feeling that he got the thin end of the wedge as far as the elements were concerned.
He played in the strongest winds on Thursday when he posted a level-par opening round and was buffeted by gusts of around 20mph (30kph) on Friday morning.
"There's always a tipping point with a links course. I think a 10 or 15mph breeze is sort of fun to play," he said.
"If it gets over 15, if it gets toward 20mph, which I would imagine it did today, that's when it gets quite extreme and quite difficult and the ball starts oscillating.
"It's tough to keep your balance while you're putting and holing out. We had an hour or so today when I felt like we were just hanging on."
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)