Rose birdied three of the last four holes in Austin
World number two Justin Rose won the last two holes to match his match with Eddie Pepperell and remained unbeaten in the WGC Match Play in Texas.
On Friday Rose faced the American Gary Woodland, who won both games, to decide who reached the round of 16.
Rory McIlroy continued his 100% start, Tommy Fleetwood cut in half with Kyle Stanley, while Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson and Ian Poulter all lost.
The 16 winners from the four-man groups make the knockout phase of Saturday.
The quarter-finals are also played on Saturday, with the semi-finals, the final and the third-place match taking place on Sunday.
Rose, who was down after 3 years, brought a birdie-putt out of the green on the 17th to keep the game alive and then rolled square in another birdie from 15 feet to finish -Englishman.
Open champion Fran cesco Molinari was up against Thorbjorn Olesen after only seven holes and achieved seven consecutive wins – after his five Ryder Cup last year – with a 4 & 3 win.
Three times Woods winner, playing in the event for the first time in six years, performed on the day and at the height of the day, kneeling to play a left-handed battle using the back of his club to get a ball buried under branches up to four feet from the flag.
But on the 13th he hit a tee shot with an iron in the water to lose two and lost 2 & 1, meaning he must beat Patrick Cantlay on Friday to have some chance of progression .
World number one Johnson, the 2017 champion, lost to Branden Grace and now has to lose the undefeated South African on Friday against Chez Reavie.
Defending champion Bubba Watson does not qualify after losing for the second day in succession, a 42-foot putt on the opening hole helping Billy Horschel to a 2 & 1 win.
Henrik Stenson, winner in 2007, finished twice the hopes of former winner Jason Day and on Friday lines against veteran Jim Furyk to find the winner of Group 12.
McIlroy eagled the 12th of five feet to head to South African Justin Harding for a 3 & 2 victory and must avoid defeat to Matthew Fitzpatrick – still to be won this week – to seal the group.
Fleetwood and Stanley are on a level at the top of Group 11 and the Englishman is faced with former Masters and Open champion Louis Oosthuizen following.
In Flemish circumstances at the Austin Country Club, world number 65 Lee Westw ood birdied the last of a dangerous position in the rough to finish everything square with Rafa Cabrera-Bello and plays countryman Tyrrell Hatton on Friday.
Should Westwood beat the world number 37 and Cabrera-Bello beat Xander Schauffele, all the players in the group would have the same number of points and a four-fold sudden death play-off would result.
Poulter, who beat Paul Casey in the 2010 final, lost one to Keith Mitchell and all four players in his group have one point. The 43-year-old plays world number 15 Tony Finau on Friday.
Inspired to try golf?
Discover how you can play golf with our special guide.