Justin Rose shot his second straight 3-under 69 on Sunday at the 2019 Farmers Insurance Open to win by three over Adam Scott (who shot 65-68 on the weekend), and the ending was kind of perfect. After leading by three going into the day, Rose made three bogeys in his first five holes, and Scott, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy, who all trailed him at the start of the day, suddenly had hope. But the bogey at No. 5 would be his last mistake of the day, and he shut down the tournament with his last full swing of the day.
Scott came into the 18th off three straight birdies and was quickly closing the gap between himself and Rose, but the would-be champ stood up a wedge into the par-5 finale to 5 feet and fist-pumped his caddie, knowing it was over. It was the closing act to what was a remarkable four-day play.
Rose opened on Thursday with a 63 on the easier North Course and backed it up with a 66 on the South on Friday. From there, he cruised, even if it probably didn’t always feel like a cruise. It was actually kind of a strange weekend for Rose. Over one 20-hole stretch in Rounds 3 and 4, Rose made four bogeys and two doubles but still escaped on the other side of it with the lead. That run may have wobbled a lesser-pedigreed player, but this isn’t Rose’s first weekend at a big time event. His 21-under 267 was both a new tournament record and also a nice foil to last week’s mediocre T34 finish.
“The offseason was short and sharp and I didn’t quite know how I was going to come out,” Rose told CBS Sports’ Peter Kostis after the round. The answer last week was, “Not great.” The answer this week was much different than that.
When I think about Justin Rose, I think about the courses he’s ticked off all over the planet. A murderer’s row of elite tracks that looks made up until you look closer. You can now add Torrey Pines to the list.
- Muirfield Village
- Royal Aberdeen
- Torrey Pines
That’s unbelievable, but it also speaks to just how good he is with his irons. You have to be world class from tee to green to have bagged that group, and Rose is. He was on this week, too. Rose finished second in the field in strokes gained from tee to green and made heroic ball-strikers like Adam Scott and Jon Rahm look pedestrian at times. This is what you’re supposed to do when you’re the No. 1 player in the world.
With the win Rose joins Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia as the only Europeans to win double digit times on the PGA Tour since World War II. Read that sentence again. Rose is arguable one of the handful of best Europeans to compete on the PGA Tour in the last 75 years. He was certainly the best in a loaded field of stars and superstars this week. Grade: A+
Here are the rest of our grades for the 2019 Farmers Insurance Open.
Rory McIlroy (T5): The Ulsterman led the field in driving distance and only made five bogeys on the week, but his putting let him down a little bit, and he wasn’t able to have that one mega-low round to get himself into contention on Sunday. He mildly flirted with the leaders on the front nine in the final round, but his back nine was birdie-free until the last hole, and with Rose running away and hiding, McIlroy just didn’t have a chance. Still, he has to be encouraged by the golf he’s played at both the Sentry Tournament of Champions and this tournament so far. Grade: A
Tiger Woods (T20): Inasmuch as Woods can fly under the radar, he did so this week with his — finish. Following a 70-70-71 start. He hit the ball better as the event went on, and that trajectory is exactly what you want to see as the first tournament of a new year wears on. We won’t see him again until Riviera in a few weeks — where he hasn’t had much success — but Woods ticked all the boxes in event No. 1 of 2019. Grade: B+
Jordan Spieth (T35): After getting his score to 11 under and within a hole or two of the lead on Saturday afternoon, Spieth played the next 13 holes in 7 over and tumbled way down the leaderboard. He recovered a bit on the back nine on Sunday, but the damage was done. After shooting an eyebrow-raising 65 on Thursday on the easier North Course, the three-time major winner closed with three consecutive 72s on the South Course. Again, I’m not panicked, I’m not losing my mind. But I also don’t have the greatest confidence in Spieth’s ability to contend in any given event right now. Grade: B-
Rickie Fowler (T66): The good news for Fowler, who doesn’t normally have a ton of success at this tournament, is that he actually made the cut this time around. The bad news is that he didn’t do a whole lot after that. Fowler struggled mightily from tee to green and flirted with last place in strokes gained in that category. I wouldn’t read a ton into it because he hasn’t made the cut here since 2015, but it’s still a pretty inauspicious start to his 2019. Grade: D
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