Roses finishes 20-under for Colonial victory
FORT WORTH, Texas
Justin Rose got his first PGA Tour victory at Jack Nicklaus’ tournament. His latest came after finishing 20 under at Hogan’s Alley, three strokes ahead of defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka.
“If you are able to win at a course that has great history, has had great champions, and if I begin to look at the courses I’ve won at, this definitely strengthens that group even more,” Rose said after his closing 6-under 64 Sunday in the Fort Worth Invitational.
Along with the plaid jacket that comes with winning at Colonial, the longest-running PGA Tour event still played at its original site (since 1946), Rose added to an impressive list of traditional courses where he has won.
There was that victory at Muirfield Village in the 2010 Memorial, and the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion among his nine PGA Tour wins. His 11 international victories include the 2014 Scottish Open at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, and the 2007 Volvo Masters at Valderrama in Spain.
“I’m very proud of the places I’ve been able to win,” Rose said. “I’m not saying they suit my game, but happy my game has turned up and I’ve been inspired by some of these great venues.”
In the final round at Colonial, where Ben Hogan won five times, Rose stayed aggressive while playing with Koepka even after starting the day with a four-stroke lead.
Koepka shot 63 on way to his sixth runner-up finish in three years. Both of his second-place finishes this season have been behind Rose, the 37-year-old Englishman and No. 5 player in the world who also won his 2017-18 debut in October at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
“It was very impressive the way he played all day. He never backed off,” Koepka said. “Never really gave an opportunity for anybody to get in there.”
Emiliano Grillo had a 64 to finish third at 16 under, his fifth top-10 in 16 starts this season.
While Rose missed matching Zach Johnson’s 2010 tournament scoring record of 259 because of bogey on the 72nd hole, first-round leader Kevin Na matched the course record with a closing 61 and finished fourth at 14 under.
Fourth-ranked Jon Rahm shot 68 and was tied for fifth at 10 under with Louis Oosthuizen (68) and Kevin Tway (67).
After birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 for the third day in a row, Rose gave up a stroke at the difficult 459-yard third when his drive went into a fairway bunker and he hit from there into the rough.
Rose got that stroke back with a 23-foot birdie putt at the 474-yard fifth hole, the toughest at Colonial, to restore his lead to four over Koepka.