World No. 1 Justin Rose added to his impressive hardware collection on Sunday, shooting a three-under par 69 to win the Farmers Insurance Open by two strokes.
England’s Rose captured his 10th US PGA Tour title as he held off a hard-charging Adam Scott down the stretch and secured the victory with a 21-under par total of 267. Australia’s Scott closed with four straight birdies in his four-under par 68 on the Torrey Pines South Course in La Jolla, California.
“I haven’t won in January since about 2002, so this feels great,” said the 2013 US Open champion.
The 38-year-old Rose, leading by three to start the day, got off to a rough and tumble start with three bogeys in his first five holes, but got back on track with a birdie on the par-four seventh. He made back-to-back birdies around the turn and then held on for the win with his sixth and final birdie of the day on 18.
Rose, who surpassed $50 million in PGA Tour earnings, said he is relieved to see that changes he made in his equipment and his game are paying off.
“I am really happy. I challenged the status quo and changed everything up in the search to try and get better,” said Rose, who switched to a different brand of clubs at the end of last year.
“I felt comfortable with the way I drove the ball this week on a tough test. A whole new look for me. But I don’t mind it, if it is going to produce this golf.”
This is Rose’s first win since the Turkish Airlines Open on the European Tour in November. He came into the event after finishing in a tie for 34th at the Desert Classic in La Quinta, California. He also won with new caddie Gareth Lord on his bag for just the second time. Rose’s regular caddie Mark Fulcher is recovering from heart surgery.
“He’s the number one player in the world, and he’s showing why,” Scott said. “Even when he was a little off, he kept it together.”
Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama tied for third with Talor Gooch at 16-under 272 after firing a five-under 67. American Gooch shot a 68. First-round leader Jon Rahm, four time major winner Rory McIlroy and defending champ Jason Day finished in a three-way tie for fifth, seven strokes back of Rose. Day shot 67, McIlroy had 69, while Rahm closed with a 72.
McIlroy surged into contention with three birdies in four holes on the front nine but failed to keep pace on the back.
Tiger Woods made his 2019 debut and his tournament was almost a mirror image of how he performed last year – when the tournament marked his return to the tour in the wake of spinal fusion surgery. Woods narrowly made the cut, but surged on the final day with five birdies in his final eight holes to get into the top 20. Woods shot a five-under 67, including a 31 on his back nine, to finish in tie for 20th with four others at 10-under 278. He tied for 23rd last year.
He said things are different this year as he has a better understanding of his fitness and focus.
“Well it was nice to shake off some rust,” the 14-time major winner said.
This was Woods’ first official tournament since winning the Tour Championship last year.
“Each day I got a little better, which is nice” he added. “I was a little bit sharper each and every day.
“My driver started coming around which is nice. My iron game wasn’t quite as sharp. I’ve been hitting good putts and finally they started going in.”
His next event will be in a couple of weeks at the Genesis Open in his hometown of Los Angeles. Woods says he no longer has to worry about what stage his game is at when he returns from a long break.
“I am at a place where I can take time off and know what I am going to have when I come back. (Before) I am often looking and searching for something,” he said.
© Agence France-Presse (additional edits from Chris Kelleher)
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