Saturday, September 20, 2014

Rose finally ends year-long drought

BETHESDA, Md.—The U.S. Open marked the wrong kind of anniversary for Justin Rose.
When he left Pinehurst No. 2 two weeks ago, that marked one year and 25 tournaments around the world that Rose had failed to win.

He had won during each of the previous four years, on some of the best courses. And while the 33-year-old from England knows better than most not to take winning for granted, it was on his mind.
That’s what made winning the Quicken Loans National yesterday so important.
“It’s a big boost,” Rose said. “And it has not been lost on me that I have not won for over a year.
“Obviously, the clock passed a year at the U.S. Open, so it was nice to get on the right side of that very quickly.”
It took another U.S. Open to change his fortunes. Or at least a tournament that felt like one.
Congressional has hosted the U.S. Open three times—most recently on a soggy course in 2011 that produced a record score by Rory McIlroy—and one PGA Championship.
The course played as tough as those majors, certainly tougher than 2011.
Rose and Shawn Stefani finished at four-under 280—12 shots higher than when McIlroy won.
Only six players broke par in the final round, and none better than a 68.
Seven players had at least a share of the lead at one point yesterday, and most of them went the other direction.
“Congressional got its reputation back after the U.S. Open,” Rose said. “I really enjoy this type of golf and this type of test.
“I think it tested all of us,” he added. “I’m delighted.”
It wasn’t easy.
Patrick Reed, who had a two-shot lead at the start of the final round and a two-shot lead at the turn, crumbled with back-to-back double-bogeys.
He wound up shooting 41 on the back nine for a 77 that knocked him out of the top 10 (on the leaderboard, not the world ranking).
That gave Rose a chance, and he took advantage with a five-iron into five feet on No. 11 for one of only four birdies yesterday on the toughest hole at Congressional.
Then in trouble on the 14th, Rose was thinking about laying up with a seven-iron until boldly playing three-wood to gouge it out of thick grass and thread the bunkers onto the green for a simple par.
Stefani narrowly missed a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th for his first PGA Tour victory to force a playoff.
The consolation for Stefani was a spot in the British Open next month—his second major.

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