Sunday, June 06, 2010

Justin Rose wins for first time on United States Tour

England's Justin Rose - he was actually born in South Africa! - finally broke his American duck with arguably the finest round of his life at the Memorial Tournament at Muirhead Village, Ohio today.
Playing the 162nd event of his PGA Tour career, Rose came from four behind Rickie Fowler to triumph by three with a magnificent closing 66, the low round of the day, and 18-under-par total of 270.
His victory in the $6million tournament was worth $1,080,000.
It makes 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.
Australian young gun Jason Day's charge for a second US tournament win in three weeks faltered with a closing six-over 78 consigning him to a tie for 33rd place alongside compatriots Adam Scott and John Senden.
Geoff Ogilvy and Nathan Green both carded four-over-par rounds to finish a stroke further back at one-under, while Aaron Baddeley and Greg Chalmers finished even with the card.
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 went in 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 No.1'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 on Monday.
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 team-mate Graeme McDowell, who earlier in the day captured the Wales Open at Celtic Manor.
"I couldn't wish for a better place - it's an honour," Rose told tournament host Jack Nicklaus after holing the winning putt.
"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."
"It's nice to have the hard work pay off."
Bo Van Pelt and Ricky Barnes were three shots further back in a tie for third, with Phil Mickelson, who would have taken over from Tiger Woods as world No.1 for the first time by winning, joint fifth and Woods 19th.
McIlroy's one-under 71 left him 10th with Jim Furyk.
Meanwhile, Australian Nick Flanagan shot a closing four-under 67 to finish tied for fourth at the Nationwide Tour's Melwood Prince George's County Open.
Flanagan finished with a 15-under total, just two strokes behind winner Tommey Gainey from America.
Stephen Leaney took a share of 15th at 11-under, with David McKenzie was a further stroke back and Scott Gardiner at nine-under.

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