JUSTIN Rose's US Open defence began with a two-over-par round of 72 at Pinehurst.

The north Hampshire golfer, beginning from the 10th tee alongside Phil Mickelson and Matthew Fitzpatrick, got off to a slow start and was four-over-par after nine holes.

However, he improved on the front nine, making birdies at holes one, three and five to move to +1. A bogey at the eighth, his penultimate hole, saw Rose slip to +2, but he is just four shots behind early leaders Kevin Na and Graeme McDowell.