Rose relishing Memorial triumph
Justin Rose has put his first victory in America down to sheer hard work after winning the prestigious Memorial Tournament.
Justin Rose put his first victory in America down to sheer hard work after winning the prestigious Memorial Tournament at Jack Nicklaus’ Muirhead Village in Ohio with some of the best golf of his life.
Rose came from behind to beat Rickie Fowler by three on Sunday as the Englishman ended his 162-tournament wait for a win on the PGA Tour with a closing 66.
Rose said: “I have had a few close calls and sometimes you wonder why you can’t get it done. But when you do it feels easy.
I’ve worked hard for this one, though, and it’s really nice to have the hard work pay off.
“And I couldn’t wish for a better place – it’s an honour,” Rose told tournament host Jack Nicklaus after holing the winning putt.
Later he added: “I really tried hard to not distinguish a huge difference between winning in Europe and wining in America. I think winning is winning, and you get a great buzz and get the same feeling.”
Rose said he had to keep his emotions in check, particularly after he turned a four-shot deficit to overnight leader Rickie Fowler into an 18 under par victory.
“To win a PGA Tour event, I think you certainly need to have 100% control of your emotions. I’ve got to be honest, the last tournament I won was the 2007 Volvo Masters, and I didn’t win it in a fashion that I was actually terribly proud of. I was four or five ahead at one point and ended up winning in a play-off.”
A magnificent closing 66, the low round of the day, and an 18-under-par total of 270 made the 29-year-old the third European to win in the States this season after his close friend and Ryder Cup partner Ian Poulter’s success at the WGC-Accenture Match Play and then Rory McIlroy’s stunning Quail Hollow Championship victory.
Rose made his first birdie on the fifth and then had three in a row from the seventh to turn in 32.
He was still behind at that point, but 21-year-old Fowler, also chasing his maiden win, bogeyed the 10th and then found the water on the short 12th for a double-bogey five.
Rose took control with further birdies on the 14th and 16th, but Fowler put the pressure back on by picking up shots at the 14th and 15th.
However, the youngster left a bunker shot in the sand on the short 16th, dropped another shot and could find no way back with Rose rock solid.
The former European Tour number one’s first PGA Tour event was, of course, the 1998 Open at Royal Birkdale when he finished a spectacular fourth as a 17-year-old amateur.
This could have the spin-off effect of qualifying him for St Andrews next month off a current form money list running in America.
But first comes the US Open and a 36-hole qualifier close to Muirfield Village tomorrow.
Rose, 66th in the world, will move just outside the top 30 and it lifts him from 27th to eighth on the European Ryder Cup world points list.
The first four places in Colin Montgomerie’s side will come from that list, with the next five automatic spots decided by European Tour earnings.
Rose goes just ahead of 2007 teammate Graeme McDowell, who earlier in the day captured the Wales Open at Celtic Manor.
THE JUSTIN ROSE FACT FILE
1980: July 30 – Born in Johannesburg, South Africa.
1985: Moves to England.
1998: Finishes tied for fourth in the Open as an amateur.
2002: Wins first professional tournament, the Dunhill Championship in South Africa.
2003: Finishes the year ranked 33 in the world.
2004: Slips outside the world’s top 50 after a poor year.
he is quitting the European Tour to concentrate on the PGA Tour but falls out of world’s top 100.
August – Announces he is reversing his decision and will concentrate on playing in Europe. Later the same week leads the Buick Championship for three rounds before eventually finishing third. Following other good results he remains on the PGA Tour.
September – Leads the Canadian Open going into the final round but again fades.
Finishes 47th in the world after a second place at the FUNAI Classic at the Walt Disney World Resort.
November – Wins the Australian Masters.
2006: Marries long-time girlfriend Kate Phillips, a British former international gymnast, in December.
2007: Finishes in top five in Masters. Reaches number 26 in the world.
Loses in a play-off in the the 2007 BMW PGA Championship, but moves into the top 20 of the world rankings for the first time.
October – Reaches a new career high of 12 and becomes the top ranked British golfer. Goes on to top the European Tour Order of Merit.
November – Wins the Volvo Masters in a play-off
for a new ranking of seven, making him top European in the world.
2009: First son Leo born on February 21.
2010: Finishes third at the Honda Classic.
June 6 – Takes maiden PGA Tour win with victory in the Memorial Tournament in Ohio by three strokes from Rickie Fowler, rising to eighth from 27th on the European Ryder Cup world points list.
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