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Rose rallies to seize first US victory

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-06-08 09:42
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Rose rallies to seize first US victory

Justin Rose of England holds the trophy as his son Leo and his wife Kate join in the celebration after he won the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio June 6, 2010. [Agencies]

DUBLIN, Ohio - Winless for more than two years, so far down the world rankings that he was in danger of being forgotten, Justin Rose decided to stop being obsessed with results and think only about the shot in front of him.

It led to a result that was long overdue.

With a flawless final round to overcome a four-shot deficit, Rose had one-putt greens on eight consecutive holes on Sunday and closed with a 6-under 66 to win the Memorial tournament for his first title in America.

"I've had a few close calls over time and you start to sometimes wonder why you can't get it done," Rose said.

Rose ran off three straight birdies before the turn, made a 20-foot par putt to keep his momentum, then seized control when Rickie Fowler took a double bogey with a tee shot into the water on the 12th hole. Fowler shot 73 to finish three shots behind.

When he tapped in for par on the final hole, Rose thrust his fist in the air slammed it down, as joyful as he was when he burst on to the golf scene 12 years ago as the 17-year-old amateur who tied for fourth at the 1998 British Open.

It was the second straight year the Memorial winner came from four shots behind. Tiger Woods did it a year ago, and Rose was equally impressive in playing without a bogey on a course made tough by the strong gusts.

Even his 16-month-old son, Leo, approved. As Rose held him aloft in his arms, the infant clapped his hands. Then came a handshake from the tournament host, Jack Nicklaus, who told the 29-year-old Englishman two years ago he would win the Memorial one day.

Rose rallies to seize first US victory

Justin Rose of England celebrates his victory at the 18th hole after winning the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio June 6, 2010. [Agencies]

"To win here at the Memorial, at Jack's tournament, I couldn't think of a better place to win my first tournament," Rose said.

Fowler, the 21-year-old rookie trying to become the youngest winner at Muirfield Village, was atop the leaderboard for 48 consecutive holes until his 5-iron to the par-3 12th bounded off the side of a slope and into the water for a double bogey.

"I just made a bad swing and paid for it," said Fowler, a runner-up for the second time this year.

Rose had finished second or third in the 161 tournament he had played on the PGA Tour, enough to have doubts. He put them away with a putt on the 16th hole that wasn't as important as he thought at the time.

Associated Press