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Despite a few disappointments, Justin Rose says his inner confidence is stronger than ever. (David Cannon/Getty Images)
Despite a few disappointments, Justin Rose says his inner confidence is stronger than ever. (David Cannon/Getty Images)

Rose keeps Lawrie in mind as he readies for Sunday

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After going 75-70 in his first two rounds while paired with Tiger Woods and Paul Lawrie, Justin Rose posted a tidy 67 Saturday. He's eight back of Sergio Garcia, but well remembers that Lawrie came from way back to win in 1999.

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland (PA) -- Justin Rose, freed from the distraction of playing with Tiger Woods, fired a 4-under-par 67 at Carnoustie on Saturday and then remembered what happened to his other partner on the first two days.

Paul Lawrie of Scotland was 10 behind with a round to play on this same course in 1999 and staged the biggest comeback in major history to win a four-hole playoff after Jean Van de Velde had triple-bogeyed the last.

"Paul Lawrie was in a similar position," said Rose, who sits at 1 under after three rounds. "It's the kind of course that's not too bad to post a number. We all know the finish is difficult and it's certainly going to get the leaders' attention. Definitely."

Paired with Woods the first two days, just as he was at Muirfield in 2002, Rose shot 75-70.

"There certainly are distractions -- it's the media, the amount of people inside the ropes," he said. "That's really the tough thing playing with him. It's not Tiger at all -- he's a perfect gentleman out there, and actually we had a really good three-ball and had a lot of fun."

On that 75, he added: "I got off to what I thought was a really nice start, but I three-putted the 10th and that kind of upset my momentum a little bit. "Certainly the round unravelled and I did feel very tired when I came off the 18th green.

"I don't know, I just seemed to lose my edge really. It was more of a focus and concentration thing," he said. "I don't think it was anything to do with my golf game. It was a shame.

"I had a job to do yesterday, to get myself back in the tournament, and today was to get myself back into contention," he said. "The round went according to plan and put me in decent shape, but who knows what the leaders are going to do."

The 26-year-old, who finished fourth as an amateur at Birkdale in 1998 and fifth and 10th in the first two majors of this season, stated: "I can't afford to make too many bogeys tomorrow.

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"I'd rather get the ball in play, lots of fairways and lots of greens and hopefully have a hot day with the putter rather than trying to force birdies."

Asked about Nick Faldo's comments earlier this week about Europeans becoming too "chummy" with each other and that their friendliness might be hurting them in the biggest of events, Rose said: "I feel like I am who I am.

"I feel I've figured out what works for me. I feel like I've been learning all the time and I feel I've been getting better and better and better at finishing the job off in the biggest situations," he added. "The inner confidence and self-belief is getting stronger and stronger."

Rose was one behind with two to play in the Masters in April, but double-bogeyed the 17th, while at the U.S. Open last month he was tied for third with a round to go and shot 76.

Last December in Australia, though, he ended four years without a victory, and his four European Tour results since then have been fifth, fifth, second and 10th. He also has had two other top-10 finishes in the States.

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