Rose closes out 10th TOUR win at Torrey Pines
January 27, 2019
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
Shot of the Day
Justin Rose's tight approach on No. 18 is the Shot of the Day
SAN DIEGO – Justin Rose needed a fresh start.
After missing four short putts in his first six holes – and watching his three-shot lead dwindle to a single stroke – Rose drew a line. It was a metaphorical line in the sand, but he drew it in his scorecard. It was time to start over.
“I said, ‘All right, we build the round from this moment on,’” he said.
He did. Rose birdied three of the next four holes, then grinded through Torrey Pines’ difficult back nine to secure a two-shot win in the Farmers Insurance Open.
Torrey Pines is Tiger’s territory, but Rose supplanted him in the tournament’s record book.
Rose’s 21-under 267 (63-66-69-69) was the lowest score at the Farmers Insurance Open since the South Course was toughened up in the early 2000s. He was two shots lower than Woods’ winning total in 2008. The reigning FedExCup champion is now sixth in the standings after winning his third start of the season.
This was Rose’s 10th PGA TOUR win, the most by an Englishman since World War II. Three of Rose’s wins have come since the start of last season. It’s been an incredibly consistent run that culminated with a win in last season’s FedExCup.
He’s finished in the top 10 in 13 of his last 21 TOUR starts, including eight top-3 finishes. He’s missed just one cut.
And it was another victory at a tough test. Torrey Pines was softened by last week’s rain, but the rough was lush. Rose’s has won at storied venues like Merion, Colonial, Muirfield Village, Aronimink and Congressional.
“I always pride myself on the golf courses I've been able to win on and this one is another very great golf course with a lot of history,” Rose said. “I love winning on great tests of golf and this one will give some special feelings because of that.”
Rose also joined Woods as the only player to convert a 54-hole lead at this event over the last decade. Nine of the last 10 leaders entering Sunday had lost the tournament. He was in danger of joining them after his tough start Sunday.
The way Rose won – by battling back after his lead was in jeopardy – showed a side of the Englishman that is often overshadowed by his genteel nature.
“He has a nasty streak in him, for sure,” said Rory McIlroy. “Justin is, he’s a grinder. He’s learned the hard way, with the way he started his career (by missing his first 21 cuts).
“I don’t think there’s many mentally stronger people in the world of golf than Justin Rose just because of what he’s been through and coming out the other end of it.”
Rose started Sunday’s round with consecutive misses from 8 feet, then missed a 7-footer for par at the fifth hole and three-putted the par-5 sixth hole. Jon Rahm was just one stroke behind him.
“I never lost the lead so I had to stay patient,” Rose said. “Definitely there were times in my career where I've had decent sized leads and you start to throw it away a little bit and you panic. I just knew I couldn't do that today. I stayed calm, I stayed with it.”
Walking off the sixth green, Rose told himself to play like the man that he is: the unanimous No. 1 player in the world. Not only is he the reigning FedExCup champion, but he sits atop the world ranking.
“I just said, "You're No. 1 in the world for a reason, just start playing like it, please,’” Rose said.
It started with a 138-yard approach to 5 feet on the seventh hole. He gave an understated fist pump when that putt fell. Then he got up-and-down from a bunker on the par-5 ninth. He hit a 150-yard approach to 8 feet on the 10th hole to take a four-shot lead with eight holes remaining.
Then he had to grind.
He parred two of the South Course’s hardest holes, Nos. 11 and 12, after hitting long-irons within 30 feet. His caddie, Gareth Lord, called Rose’s 4-iron on 11 his best shot of the day. Lord is filling in for Rose’s longtime caddie, Mark Fulcher, as he recovers from heart surgery.
“His iron shots, the way he takes yardage off. That was a holding 4-iron. If he hits it normal, he’s going to go through the back. If he hits 5-iron, we’re 35, 40 feet short,” Lord said. “He said, ‘I’ve got that shot.’ And to pull it off the way he did, he’s pretty good under pressure.”
Then he had to lean on his short game to maintain his advantage.
Rose finished second in greens hit this week, but he had to save par after missing three in a row. He deftly executed a touchy chip on the par-5 13th, made a sand save on 14 and holed a 9-footer for par on the next hole.
He made a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-3 16th, then finished with a birdie after wedging close.
This was Rose’s first PGA TOUR win in January, and erased questions about his recent switch to Honma equipment. This was just his second start with the new clubs.
“Everything has worked out better than I would have hoped,” he said.
Justin Rose Round 4 highlights from Farmers