Rose, four back, has second title at the Memorial in his sightsCould take over at No. 1 in FedExCup, No. 1 in world with win
June 02, 2018
By Cameron Morfit , PGATOUR.COM
Justin Rose's interview after Round 3 of the Memorial
DUBLIN, Ohio – At 37 years old, Justin Rose has played so well, so consistently, that it would take less time to describe his mediocre results than his good ones.
The T37 at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship, T52 at the Houston Open, T23 at THE PLAYERS Championship. That’s about it for thorns in Rose’s recent body of work. And now, after shooting a third-round 69 to get to 10 under, he’ll go into the final round just four behind leader Bryson DeChambeau (66) at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide.
“That’s actually sort of where I won from in 2010,” Rose said. (He began the day four behind Rickie Fowler.) “… It’s going to take something low to finish it out tomorrow, but in with a shot.”
Patrick Cantlay (66), Kyle Stanley (70) and 19-year-old Joaquin Niemann (70) are tied for second, one off the lead, while Byeong Hun An (69) is two back. Rose is alone in sixth place. The Englishman will go for his second win in as many weeks on the PGA TOUR, and could potentially take over the No. 1 spots in both the FedExCup and the Official World Golf Ranking with a win.
With thunderstorms in the forecast, players will go off split tees and start times will be moved up.
Although he finished T4 as an amateur at the 1998 Open Championship, Rose is a late-bloomer. He turned pro and missed 21 straight cuts, and when his head hit the pillow after the third round at Muirfield Village eight years ago, he wondered what it would take to finally win in America.
Fast-forward to today and Rose is an Olympic gold medalist (Rio, 2016), a U.S. Open champion (Merion, 2013), a nine-time TOUR winner and a four-time European Ryder Cup team member.
Depending on the final-round performance of Justin Thomas (68, 7 under), Rose could take over the top spot in both the FedExCup (he’s now second, 305 points behind) and the OWGR (a win guarantees No. 1). And he said earlier this week that he doesn’t plan on peaking until he’s 40.
Although he ranked outside the top 100 in Strokes Gained: Putting in each of the last two seasons, Rose, who has used a claw putting grip for nearly two years, is now 13th (.618). He has honed his swing with his coach, Sean Foley, and stabilized his sometimes-achy back and core with his London-based strength trainer, Justin Buckthorp, and a handful of other therapists who train him and take care of his body depending on where he happens to be in the world.
“That's been a big change in the last year, actually,” Rose says.
A little over a year ago, Rose’s back was still giving him trouble, so he and Foley went about making swing changes. Using biomechanics, they went “a little old school with the leg action.” (Rose’s words.) He struggled to implement the changes last summer, but racked up 10 straight top-10s to close 2017, including all four FedExCup Playoffs events, plus wins at the World Golf Championship-HSBC Champions, Turkish Airlines Open and Indonesian Masters.
Rose brought more of the same to 2018, notching top 10s at the Farmers Insurance Open (T8), Valspar Championship (T5) and Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard (3). After a disappointing T12 at the Masters and a so-so showing at THE PLAYERS, he shot a final-round 64 in sweltering heat to capture the Fort Worth Invitational.
“From an injury point of view,” Rose says, “I feel great.”
His results haven’t been bad, either.
WOODS’ PUTTING WOES CONTINUE. For the second straight day, Tiger Woods (68, 9-under) got off to a roaring start only to stall on the back nine. And his putting was the culprit. Again.
Woods shot a 5-under 31 on the front nine and briefly tied for the lead when he birdied the par-15 15th hole Saturday, but his putting woes, which he thought he’d solved after an extra practice session Friday night, resurfaced late in his round. Woods missed a birdie putt of just 3 feet, 10 inches at the par-4 14th hole and ended his day by missing from 3 feet, 4 inches for par on 18.
“That’s probably the highest score I could have possibly shot today,” said Woods, who bogeyed the par-3 16th hole after hitting his tee shot in the back bunker. “I played really, really well. I played beautifully, actually. Had total control of what I was doing out there and just didn't finish it off.
“I hit a lot of good putts today,” added Woods, who is 72nd in Strokes Gained: Putting among the 81 players who made the cut. “I just didn’t do it late in the round.”
CANTLAY MAKES TWO EAGLES. Patrick Cantlay made a hole-in-one with a 7-iron from 185 yards at the eighth hole, and eagled the par-5 15th hole, too, to briefly jump into the lead at 13 under. He sprinkled in four birdies and two bogeys for a 66 to go into the final round one back.
“If you make a bogey you just got to keep going,” he said. “I hit a couple poor tee shots, made a couple bogeys on the back, but made a lot of really nice swings and made some nice birdies.”
Cantlay splits his time between Newport Beach, Calif., and Jupiter, Fla., so he can’t be considered local to Ohio, but his caddie, Matt Minister, played golf for Ohio State alongside Cantlay’s third-round playing partner, Ryan Armour (72, 6 under). “He’s a real good dude,” Cantlay said of Armour, “and it was fun to hear the crowd cheer for him all day.”
RORY MCILROY – After making the cut on the number, made six birdies and an eagle for a bogey-free 64 to give himself an outside chance going into the final round at 8 under. “I was just happy to be here, get in another couple of rounds before going to the U.S. Open,” said McIlroy, who needed just 24 putts Saturday.
PHIL MICKELSON – Got to within three of the lead with a birdie at the par-5 15th, but left his second shot in the back bunker on the way to a double-bogey at 16 on the way to a 70 for a 6-under total. Trending in right direction with FedEx St. Jude Classic and U.S. Open starts in the next two weeks, respectively.
JUSTIN THOMAS – The FedExCup defending champion and current No. 1 shot a third-round 68 that included a bogey at the last. He was at 7 under, seven shots off the lead.
JOAQUIN NIEMANN – The 19-year-old Chilean who is trying to play his way onto the TOUR continues to turn heads. He eagled the par-5 seventh hole on the way to a 2-under 70 and is just one back. He finished T8 at the Fort Worth Invitational last week, and needs just 89 more non-member FedExCup points (solo 7th or better) to match No. 150 from last season (269/Rick Lamb) and become eligible to seek Special Temporary Membership on TOUR.
QUOTABLESThe good’s very good and the bad is—I need to get that a little bit better.The 11th hole at Monterey Peninsula.
Low round: 64 by Rory McIlroy.
Longest drive: 368 yds (Tony Finau/No. 14)
Longest putt: 47’ 11” (Si Woo Kim/No. 1)
Toughest hole: The par-4 18th (4.222).
CALL OF THE DAY
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SHOT OF THE DAY
Shot of the Day
Tiger Woods' clutch eagle putt for Shot of the Day