CROMWELL, Conn. – Justin Rose kept his driver in the bag for most of his round Friday, and it turned out to be a wise choice.

The 25-year-old Englishman shot a 7-under 63 to take a four-stroke lead after two rounds of the Buick Championship.

Bogey-free through 36 holes, Rose played himself into contention for his first PGA Tour win, moving to 12-under 128, his lowest two-round total of the year.

Former British Open champ and first-round co-leader Ben Curtis (68) and Kevin Sutherland (67) are tied for second at 8 under. Dean Wilson (66) and Chris Smith (67) are five strokes off the lead.

Rose teed off in the afternoon, just as the fairways were firming up on the 6,820-yard TPC at River Highlands. He opted for his 3-wood and 5-wood off the tee on the back nine.

“It got pretty hot, so the ball was going a long way,” Rose said. “I managed to pull back, leave the driver in the bag and put it in play.”

Rose, who has won four times in international play, has not finished better than third on the PGA Tour. He’s been in the last group three times in tour events heading into a Saturday, including last year’s Masters.

This time, he’ll be paired with Curtis, with whom he shared the second-round lead in last year’s Memorial.

“Ben’s a friend of mine. It’ll be a fun day,” Rose said.

Rose is making his second straight appearance at the Buick Championship. Although he finished in the money tied for 71st, he never broke par all week.

“I’ve learned this is a course you have to give a little bit of respect to,” Rose said.

Kang, Matthew tied for lead at LPGA

DUBLIN, Ohio – Soo-Yun Kang overcame a triple-bogey to shoot her second consecutive 6-under-par 66 and forge a tie for the lead with defending champion Catriona Matthew in the Wendy’s Championship.

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