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AUGUSTA, Ga. -- When is the least desirable time to implement a change in the way you putt? For Justin Rose, it's apparently not the week before the Masters.

Rose is going with the claw grip this week which is a change from his last tournament. It worked splendidly on Thursday as Rose shot a 3-under 69 and averaged just 1.67 putts per green in regulation (leader Jordan Spieth was near 1.5).

"I just really noticed that the stroke felt a lot smoother, and then thought that was interesting," said Rose after his round. "It was kind of a mixture of feel and science telling me it was something that was working for me, and then I continued to practice with it the remainder of the week."

"I questioned it. Obviously coming into Augusta, you question a decision like that. But the end of the day, I felt that with how I was putting, I was putting okay. I was putting fine," he continued. "I was going to putt fine this week, but I felt like there was improvement to be had. Obviously, you make these decisions based upon trying to win a golf tournament, not just trying to keep it status quo."

The status quo was pretty good last year when Rose finished T2. Clearly he wants to improve that by a spot this year. He'll once again have to beat Jordan Spieth to do it.

Justin Rose switches it up. (USATSI)
Justin Rose switches it up. (USATSI)