Saturday 20 December 2014

Justin Rose claims opening title of the season in Bethesda

Published 30/06/2014 | 07:43

Justin Rose, of England, poses with the trophy after he won the Quicken Loans National golf tournament, Sunday, June 29, 2014, in Bethesda, Md. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Justin Rose, of England, poses with the trophy after he won the Quicken Loans National golf tournament

Justin Rose claimed his first title of the year after edging out Shawn Stefani in a play-off to be crowned the Quicken Loans National champion.

Both players shot one under par rounds of 71 at Congressional although Rose would have won the title outright had he not bogeyed at the final hole.

However, the 2013 US Open champion recovered quickly and sealed victory on the first play-off hole - the 18th - as Stefani was only able to card a double bogey six.

Rose began the day three shots off leader Patrick Reed, who had an awful final round as he carded 77, but slipped back after a bogey at the third.

Birdies at the sixth, ninth and 11th propelled him to the top of the leaderboard, but he faltered on his 72nd hole after finding water beside the green with his second shot.

The 33-year-old held his nerve to sink a 15-foot bogey putt and settle on four under par overall, which was matched by American Stefani, whose hopes of victory faded in the play-off after also driving into the water with his approach shot.

Rose had learnt his lesson and a drama-free par was all he needed to seal his second win in five years at this event and his first since last year's triumph at Merion.

Only six players recorded a score below par on Sunday and Rose believes course organisers may have been trying to make amends for Rory McIlroy shooting 16 under to win the 2011 US Open.

"I think Congressional got its reputation back after the U.S. Open for sure," Rose said on Sky Sports 4 after winning his sixth PGA Tour title.

"I really enjoy this type of golf and this type of test. I think it tested all of us and for four under par to win this championship was exactly what we bargained for.

"It was a tough golf course coming here and I'm delighted (to win)."

Steffani, ranked 246th in the world, at least had the consolation of qualifying for next month's Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club after his best ever finish on the PGA Tour.

His compatriots Chrley Hoffman and Ben Martin finished in a tie for third on three under overall, while fellow Americans Brendan Steele and Brendon Todd and Argentinian Andres Romero were a shot further back.

Billy Hurley III, Brendon de Jonge and Marc Leishman were the only other players to break level par for the tournament as they finished in a share of eighth.

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