HAMPSHIRE ace Justin Rose is hoping his childhood dreams will finally turn into reality at this year's Open Championship.

The world number eight tomorrow begins his bid to win the famous Claret Jug for the first time in his career, as the 144th edition of the world's most famous golf tournament takes place on the iconic Old Course at St Andrews.

Rose, who already has one major title to his name - the 2013 US Open - has long dreamed of winning the event.

"It would mean the world," he said. "It would be a realisation of a lot of childhood dreams and hard work, and, obviously, growing up, this is the one tournament that I dreamed of winning.

"Obviously, major championships, you'll take any of them. You don't get picky. They're hard to win. But if you were to get picky, this would be the one for me."

Daily Echo:

Justin Rose is aiming to win his first Open Championship

For his first two rounds (2.45pm tomorrow, 9.44am Friday), former North Hants member Rose will play with American Rickie Fowler and the last Englishman to win the tournament, Sir Nick Faldo, who triumphed in 1987, 1990 and 1992.

Rose, 34, will carry with him onto the course memories of being encouraged as a youngster by his late dad, Ken, and pretending as a child on the putting green that he was trying to win the Open.

"I was lucky enough to play golf from a very early age, probably been on the golf course since I was five years of age," he said.

"My dad used to encourage me to get out there and play and set hill targets and goals and keep me interested, whether it be a Mars bar on the way home or a train set at the end of the year or whatever, but just kept it fun for me.

"I felt like I picked up the game quickly.

"I had a lot of confidence in myself and belief that I was going to go on and be a professional golfer.

"I used to pose my follow-through in the garden in the reflection of the window and pretend it was the front cover of a magazine.

"So I kind of had that in my mind always about where I wanted to go with it, Ryder Cups and major championships, and in the quiet moments where you'd spend hour after hour on the putting green at your home club, this one for The Open, this one to win the Ryder Cup, this one for that.

"So, yeah, always had the dream in my head, really, and it's nice to be here as, like you said, the top-ranked British player and someone with a legitimate chance to go on and win it. It's nice to have sort of made the most of those dreams."