Golf: Rose revives winning touch to win Pebble Beach Pro-Am

England's Justin Rose reacting to a shot during the final round of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in California, on Feb 6. PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES – Britain’s Justin Rose has set his sights on making a push for Europe’s Ryder Cup team for the 2023 event in Rome, after he ended a four-year wait for a PGA Tour victory by winning the weather-delayed Pebble Beach Pro-Am in California on Monday.

Former world No. 1 and 2013 US Open champion Rose, 42, carded a final-round 66 to end the week on 18-under 269, recording a three-shot victory after the final round was suspended on Sunday because of darkness.

He finished ahead of Americans Brendon Todd (65) and Brandon Wu (66) to lift his first trophy since the Farmers Insurance Open in 2019 and 11th on the PGA Tour.

Rose, who has a 13-8-2 record against the United States in the Ryder Cup, missed out on selection for Europe’s team in 2021 when they were thrashed 19-9 at Whistling Straits and said he hopes to be part of Luke Donald’s line-up for the Sept 25-Oct 1 tournament.

“I haven’t even entertained what the Ryder Cup looks like for me, other than I want to be there,” he said.

“What was really important to me was getting off to a good start on the PGA Tour so I wasn’t under pressure later in the season, so I could turn my attentions to the Ryder Cup and the European Tour.

“A win does give you a lot of belief. We always know we can do it but, sometimes, you’ve got to see the proof.”

Rose added that it was a “big relief” to secure qualification for the Masters at Augusta National in April, for which he had not yet been eligible after plummeting to world No. 84 earlier in 2023 and entering last week at 71.

“Augusta’s definitely been a big part of being on my mind. I thought the simple way to approach it was try to play my way into the top 50 in the world,” said Rose, whose victory moved him up to 35th.

“An incredible week from start to finish with so much happening in my favour.” 

He found the stop-start nature of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am to his liking.

After high winds blew the tournament off track during the third round on Saturday, Rose dominated the herky-jerky resumption schedule.

He powered into the lead on Sunday morning, after finishing the final nine holes of the third round at five under to move in front. He never relinquished the advantage the rest of the way.

The Briton played the first nine holes of the final round on Sunday before play was suspended by darkness and then returned on Monday on the 10th hole.

He fired three more birdies on Monday morning and coasted to victory.

With the tournament in hand, he played it safe on Pebble Beach’s famed No. 18 finishing hole. As Monterey Bay waves crashed near the left side of the fairway, Rose pushed an iron to the right side off the tee and closed with an easy par five.

“Obviously, there is a lot going on,” he said of the often unpredictable nature of playing the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

“There are amateurs, odd bounces on the green, wobbly putts or the (weather) forecast that doesn’t make sense. There is a lot that can be thrown at you, but it’s a wonderful tournament.”

The sunny conditions that accompanied the finish of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am belied the winds and rain that marked earlier rounds.

The tournament is traditionally challenged by weather.

Todd birdied four of the first five holes on the back nine in the final round before he made par on each of the last four holes. He hit the tree in the fairway off the tee at 18th to cost him a chance at one last birdie.

Wu birdied four holes on the back nine, including one at the 18th after a chip to mere inches from the cup. REUTERS

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