The critics of the PGA Tour have wanted for some time and now they have it – a player BESIDES Tiger Woods showing signs of domination on the world’s top professional golf tour. Everybody knew it COULD happen but if it did would anyone have thought Justin Rose would be THE guy?
Likely not, but that is the case as Sunday he swept to victory at the AT&T National courtesy of brilliant shot making and leaning hard on a white putter that is becoming legendary. No, it is no equal to Jack Nicklaus’ White Fang putter but it seems to be rolling the ball just as well.
Rose had a few stumbles Sunday at Aronimink but, unlike at the Travelers Championship, he did not falter to an excessive degree, and finished just far enough ahead to secure his 2nd PGA Tour title in three starts on Tour.
After winning at Memorial and holding the 54-hole lead at The Travelers, Rose had a lot of recent experience to draw on as he played the final round of the AT&T and ultimately it helped him close out the championship one stroke ahead of a surging Ryan Moore. Moore fired an impressive 65 on Sunday, almost enough to catch Rose who posted even par for his last trip around the storied layout. And helping Rose to get the job done was utilizing the experience in Hartford where a final round 75 gave away the tournament.
“I knew having not closed out last week it was important for me just for myself to do it today, but to do it in a way — I felt like I really did put into play the lessons I learned at Hartford. I played much slower and I really felt calm. I didn't feel like the nerves got the better of me at all the whole weekend, so was much better at that,” said Rose.
“Still never easy to close these things out, I'll tell you. Had it going nicely on the front nine today and probably got a little bit closer than I should have with two slack three-putts 10 and 11. But I knew today around level par would get the job done today. I was probably — maybe even by a couple but obviously Ryan put a great round together, birdieing 17 I think he did, so he was definitely putting the heat on,” he added.
The tricky greens had many players shaking their heads. High speeds and severe slopes tested the field with three to six foot second putts that not everyone handled well. Rose was able to convert almost all of them and that made the difference in the end. “Every two-putt felt like hard work coming in, I've got to tell you. It was good fun,” Rose stated. “I felt very much in control of my emotions and it's been a long week, but I'm very glad we've got to this point with a win.
With the win Rose not only moved to 2nd in the FedEx points list but he achieved another important goal – he won the top spot on the “mini money list” that qualifies him for the Open Championship in a couple weeks. After not playing in the United States Open he is very geared up to play the 150th Open Championship. His record of late and the fact he won the St. Andrew’s Links Trophy as an amateur at St. Andrews will make him a betting favorite.
This report provided to GolfWRX.com by Flagstick Golf Magazine (www.flagstick.com)