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Justin Rose, Justin Timberlake entertain in their own way

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Justin Rose was walking off the 17th green at Spyglass Hill on Thursday afternoon when he heard a couple of young fans call his name in singsong unison.

"Hiiii Justinnnn!!!"

So he did what any conscientious pro golfer would do. He turned toward them, smiled, waved and ... realized they weren't calling to him.

Welcome to the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where golfers often aren't the biggest superstars on the property. That was certainly the case in Rose's group, as he'd been persuaded to compete for the first time in this tournament by friend, neighbor, entertainer and namesake Justin Timberlake.

"Trust me," Rose later said of playing second fiddle to his playing partner, "I was kind of coming in to today knowing what to expect."

He might also owe his buddy a debt of gratitude.

Playing Spyglass for the first time -- not just in competition, but ever -- Rose opened with a 6-under 66 on what is traditionally the most difficult venue in the three-course rotation.

"I'm very happy to have that score under my belt," he said, "and hope I can build on that the rest of the week."

Even the day's best score on Spyglass took a backseat to the entertainment portion of the proceedings.

When Timberlake missed a putt well short, he muttered, "Hit the ball," then turned to Rose and asked, "Does that ever happen to you?" When Timberlake rolled one past the hole, he offered his best Happy Gilmore impersonation: "Are you too good for your home?"

And when a spectator pulled out an acoustic guitar on the 16th tee, Timberlake followed a solid drive down the left side by grabbing the guitar and -- along with fellow entertainer Alfonso Ribeiro, who was also playing in their group -- offered up an impromptu song for a small gaggle of fans.

It's an old adage: Entertainers want to be athletes and athletes want to be entertainers.

The former is on display throughout the Monterey Peninsula this week, with celebrities pretending to be golfers inside the ropes. Don't expect the latter anytime soon, though -- at least as far as Rose is concerned.

"I am totally tone deaf and am absolutely terrible; even in the shower, I'm awful," he laughed. "So, yeah, part of me wishes to feel like what that would be like and especially, obviously, in an arena where that whole different energy of performing in front of that sort of crowd would be obviously something cool to experience. But pretty happy doing what I'm doing."

Like many others competing this week, he understands the pull that golf has with the celeb crowd.

"It is amazing how golf really does have that gravitas amongst a lot of other professional athletes and even entertainers," he said, "that they do love the game so much."

As proof, just check out the A-listers who were hacking it around Spyglass on Thursday.

There was Bill Murray, paired once again with D.A. Points. Mark Wahlberg, playing alongside Bubba Watson. Jake Owen with Jordan Spieth. Toby Keith with Steve Stricker. Plenty of stars from the sports world, too. Aaron Rodgers is paired with Jerry Kelly. Larry Fitzgerald with Kevin Streelman. Wayne Gretzky with Dustin Johnson. Jim Harbaugh with Matt Bettencourt.

For a guy who had never before played in this event, the opening round served as an indoctrination to what he'd always believed was the vibe around here.

"It's definitely a tournament I've been watching over the years and looks like a lot of fun," explained Rose. "When you're sitting at home and you're watching it in great weather, it's a place you always wish that you were at."

He's here now and, competing for just the second time this year, in early contention for a title just 2 shots off Chez Reavie's lead. The world's seventh-ranked golfer, Rose didn't qualify for the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, even though he'd won the Memorial Tournament just two weeks earlier.

He wouldn't give Timberlake complete credit for getting him to this tournament for the first time, but their friendship definitely played a part in helping it happen.

They first met years ago at Lake Nona in Orlando, Florida, and now each own homes at the Albany development in the Bahamas. They've become friends and somewhat frequent playing partners, all of which made sense for them to team up this week.

It's working so far for Rose, who might not have impressed the young fans screaming his first name, but did impress his playing partner.

As he walked off the final green, Timberlake got his caddie's attention.

"Yo, he just shot 66," he told him, wide-eyed. "What a stud."