5 Things: Rose triumphs; British Open invites; more
Sunday, June 29, 2014
Justin Rose continues to show his mettle on the world's toughest courses, outlasting Shawn Stefani in a sudden-death playoff Sunday to win the Quicken Loans National at Congressional.
Rose fired a 1-under 70 Sunday, but a bogey on the 72nd hole left the door open for Stefani. A solid par on the hole on the first hole of the playoff gave Rose his sixth PGA Tour victory – coming at Doral, Merion, Cog Hill, Muirfield Village and Aronomink.
Here are 5 Things to know from the final round in Bethesda, Md.:
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1. THE SIGNS WERE THERE: Justin Rose captured the spotlight at the 2013 U.S. Open after holding off Phil Mickelson for his first major title. But an injury he suffered during the 2013 FedEx Cup playoffs sent Rose into hiding at the outset of the 2014 season.
Rose would return from tendinitis in his right shoulder at the Northern Trust Open in February, and has been on a steady climb back to the top since.
In his last eight starts on Tour, he's finished T-14 or better in six of them.
On Sunday, he conquered a course that took on U.S. Open-like toughness, with only five players breaking par.
After a bogey on No. 3, Rose would use three birdies on Nos. 6, 9 and 11 to vault to the top of the leaderboard as Patrick Reed faltered behind three double-bogeys over his first 11 holes.
He'd never relinquish the lead, saving par on the par-4 17th after finding the long rough off the tee, and then making a huge 15-footer to save bogey on his 72nd hole that ultimately forced the playoff.
"Congressional got its reputation back after the U.S. Open," Rose said. "I really enjoy this type of golf and this type of test. I think it tested all of us. I'm delighted."
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2. TAKING THE POSITIVES: Shawn Stefani will admittedly be upset by his choice to go after the 18th green despite water on the left, but he will be able to take solace in a pair of firsts.
It was Stefani's first second-place finish on PGA Tour, netting him the biggest paycheck of his young career. It also gave him a spot in the Open Championship, his first appearance in the championship.
Stefani was nearly off the PGA Tour earlier this season, playing on a minor medical extension and needing a high finish to accumulate the money required to keep his card when he received a sponsor's exemption into the Shell Houston Open.
He would pick up his other top-10 finish this season in Houston, firing a final-round 69 to finish fifth and keep his card. He has made six of eight cuts since, including a T-11 at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
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3. BRING ON HOYLAKE: With only five sub-par rounds Sunday, three of those – including Stefani – were rewarded with a trip to the Open Championship in three weeks.
Andres Romero had the lowest round of the day with a 3-under 68, moving up 27 spots on the leaderboard to finish T-5. Charley Hoffman posted a 2-under 69 to earn his trip across the pond.
A pair of even-par 71s by Ben Martin and Brendan Steele also gave them trips to Royal Liverpool. The top 4 players inside the top 12 in the final standings not already exempt received berths into the year's third major.
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4. ROUGH WEEKENDS: Patrick Rodgers and Oliver Goss won't be writing home about their weekend rounds at Congressional. Goss, who shared the 36-hole lead in only his second start as a professional, went 76-79 (13 over) Saturday and Sunday, respectively, to drop all the way to T-55. Rodgers also finished T-55, going 73-76 over the weekend.
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5. SHORT SHOTS: Defending champion Bill Haas three-putted from 6 feet on No. 2 and never recovered, shooting a 6-over 77 to finish T-30 at 4 over. … After starting the day at even par, Scott Stallings fired a 10-over 81 that included eight bogeys and a double. … The final group Sunday combined to shoot 14 over, with Patrick Reed carding a 77 and Seung-Yul Noh a 79.