By Steve Keating
LEMONT, Illinois (Reuters) - With a $10 million pot on the table, Justin Rose went all in on Thursday, flashing a hot hand with an eight-under-par 63 to grab the first round lead at the BMW Championship.
The Briton, however, will need to have more up his sleeve if he hopes to break into the top 30 in the FedExCup standings and book his place at the season-ending finale next week in Atlanta where a $10 million bonus will go to the points leader.
Entering the third of the PGA Tour's four lucrative playoff events this week, Rose was just outside the top 30 and, with nothing to lose, he brought an all-or-nothing approach to Cog Hill Golf and Country Club.
"I've got the mindset I've got nothing to lose this week," Rose, who lies 34th in the standings, told reporters. "That's my strategy, that's my attitude because right now I'm not going to Atlanta.
"I've got everything to gain this week. That's really the way I'm seeing it.
"Guys who are 26, 27, 28, 29th -- who have played well all year -- they might be pretty tense this week because they feel they deserve to be in Atlanta. For me, I still feel like I can make it a great year."
After making his long awaited PGA Tour breakthrough last season by recording two victories on the U.S. circuit, Rose has been unable to build on that success in 2011.
He has had four top-10s this year, highlighted by a third place finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but his performances have been wildly inconsistent, particularly toward the end of the season.
After missing the cut at the PGA Championship, Rose rebounded with a solid sixth at the first FedExCup playoff event, The Barclays, but then finished in a disappointing tie for 68th at the Deutsche Bank Championship two weeks ago.
"At the beginning of the season, I was playing really, really nice golf and through the Florida Swing and into the Masters I played some of the best golf I've ever played," said Rose.
"I really felt that with a decent putter I would have won a couple of those tournaments.
"I didn't play quite as well through the summer but I feel like I'm sort of feeling good about things once again."
Earlier this week, Rose had a session with swing coach Sean Foley, who is also overseeing the latest swing overhaul by Tiger Woods, and the tweaks produced immediate results as Rose described Thursday's round as one of the best of his career.
"I had a little tune-up with Sean Foley on Tuesday, really cleaned up a couple things in my golf swing, and it was really nice to see the results straightaway," said Rose.
"Basically the line of the club at the top of the backswing, I just got a little bit more on line instead of a little bit laid off.
"I'm sort of managing to do it with a nice, simple thought, and I think that's the key -- if you can take simple thoughts from the range, that's how you're going to take them to the golf course."
(Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)