Justin Rose on Colonial win: Ben Hogan’s name first thing I saw
Justin Rose couldn’t be stopped this week at Colonial.
The No. 5-ranked player in the world showed he rightfully deserves that distinction in a dominating performance to win the Fort Worth Invitational.
Rose entered with a four-shot lead and never saw it dwindle to fewer than three as he shot a final-round 6-under 64 on Sunday. He won the tournament with a total score of 20-under par, the second-best in tournament history.
Zach Johnson won the 2010 tournament at 21 under.
Rose, a U.S. Open and Olympic champion, understood the prestige of winning an event at a course known as "Hogan’s Alley."
"Really, really proud of this one," Rose said. "This is a special victory for me. Obviously just winning here at this venue I think is really what means so much. A tournament that I pick up the trophy and the first thing I saw was Ben Hogan's name twice. It sort of says a lot."
Yes, Hogan won the event in 1946-47, and again in 1952-53 and in 1959. He's the only player who has been a repeat champion and Rose sounded like a player who is already eager to defend.
Rose, the 37-year-old Englishman, played in the event for the first time since 2010 since PGA Tour regulations require players to add an event they haven't played in the past four.
It coincided with the European Tour's BMW Championship at Wentworth Club in his home country.
"It was/is a difficult decision," Rose said. "With Wentworth changing dates next year to September, that's huge now because obviously I can come back and defend without any clash."
There wasn't much of a clash on the golf course even though he was paired with a fellow U.S. Open winner, last year's Brooks Koepka.
Rose started the day with a four-stroke lead and never saw it dwindle to less than three. That happened on the front-side when he bogeyed No. 3 and was 15-under with Koepka sitting at 12-under.
Two holes later, though, Rose birdied the hardest hole on the course — No. 5. Rose rolled in a 23-footer for birdie. Koepka had a closer putt by 2 inches and left it short.
The birdie on No. 5 left little doubt that this would be Rose’s tournament.
"That kick started the momentum on the front nine," said Rose, who played the "Horrible Horseshoe" (Nos. 3-5) at 1 under this week.
But that didn’t deter Koepka. In fact, he kept the heat on by making birdie from a greenside bunker on No. 6. Rose answered with his own birdie, rolling in a 12-footer.
Rose matched every birdie by Koepka until No. 13.
"It was very impressive the way he played all day," said Koepka, the reigning U.S. Open champion.
"He never backed off. Never really gave an opportunity fro anybody to get in there."
Emiliano Grillo finished third after a bogey-free round of 64, but never really got in the hunt.
Jon Rahm, the fourth-ranked player in the world, and Louis Oosthuizen, a major winner, appeared they might put some heat on Rose early on.
But their rounds fell apart on No. 9. Rahm clipped a tree with his approach shot and landed in the water. He settled for bogey.
Oosthuizen, who was 3-under through his first eight holes, had to punch out after an errant tee shot and then three-putted for a double bogey.
Kevin Na, the Day 1 leader, had the round of the day with a 9-under 61 to get to 14-under — the score Rose started the day with.
In the end, Rose and Koepka showed why they’re two of the top players in the world.
"They showed up today, 7-, 8-under today, that’s kind of hard to beat," Grillo said. "I did everything I could out there."
For Rose, it's win No. 9 on the PGA Tour and comes at a place filled with golf history.
"Everyone has been influenced by Hogan to some point," Rose said. "All coaches anyway. You know, he's done some very amazing things."