ALLENDALE, Mich. -- Anton Rosen felt comfortable Monday afternoon in the opening round of the NCAA II men's golf championship at The Meadows.
His putter proved it.
Rosen, a sophomore at Cal State-Monterey Bay who is from Stockholm, Sweden, putted only 24 times on his way to an even-par 71. Only 10 of those putts came on the back nine.“It was tough out there, so I'm very happy with this,” Rosen said. “I putt well. My 24 putts today is a couple better than my average, but this course is perfect. The greens are perfect. It's unbelievable. I saw the lines and I rolled them today.”
Rosen's longest putt of the day was a birdie putt of 75 feet on No. 14, a 601-yard par-5, while his longest par putt of the day was just 12 feet, on the par-3 seventh hole. He also chipped in twice on the back nine, from the fringe on the par-4 No. 11 and No. 16. A “lucky” chip on the par-3 17th helped him save par.
“I thought I hit a good [tee] shot but then the wind died and the ball flew on me,” Rosen said. “Then I hit a lucky shot from no lie.”
While his even-par opening round included three bogeys, it also featured nothing worse than a bogey and he also played the par-5s at two-under.
“Overall, on this course, the front nine is easy and the back nine is tough,” Rosen said. “I like 18, it is a beautiful finishing hole and I like the par-5s. I hit the ball pretty far so I have good, short irons in, but I putt well.”
Rosen found his way to Monterey Bay thanks, in part, to Swedish players Martin Hardenberger of Malmo and Oskar Nystrom of Gothenburg, who were members of Monterey Bay's 2011 national championship team.
"I was only in high school but I played with another of the Swedes and he put me in touch with the coaches,” Rosen said. “As soon as they told me about Pebble Beach and Spyglass I knew that's where I wanted to play. That was a big thing for me.”
The weather, and the golf course, in West Michigan, reminds Rosen of his home in Sweden.
“This place actually reminds me of home,” he said. “The whole environment, the weather, the wind, it reminds me of home. The course is pretty flat, there is not much going on here. And the climate is like Stockholm.”
Rosen first hit a golf ball when he was eight years old, but it was not until he was 14 that he began to take the game seriously.
“I have a lot of experience, but not at a high level,” he said. “When I go home I will play about 15 tournaments in 10 weeks, because the season is so short.”
Rosen was one of six players who shot even-par 71 Monday.
“I feel like I hit it well today, but I also feel like I didn't get a lot out of it,” Rosen said. “I did make a lot of saves today, though.”
Mitch Farrer of Nova Southeastern was the only player to break par in Monday's opening round. He posted a 1-under 70 Monday morning.
“It was a great start,” Nova Southeastern coach Ryan Jamison said. “Unfortunately, it is one round of golf. I felt the guys played really well, kept the ball in front of them, in the fairway, and hit a lot of greens. That is the main thing you want to do out here, hit as many greens as you can. The rough is thick, so if your are hitting 15 or 16 greens per round, you're going to be OK.”