Rose in bloom: English star Justin Rose claimed his first-ever World Golf Championship title at Doral
Englishman climbs to No.7 on world rankings after impressive win at Doral
England's Justin Rose has climbed to seventh place on the Official World Golf Rankings after winning the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral.
Rose, 31, capitalised on a poor start by 54-hole leader Bubba Watson to win his first World Golf Championship title by a shot from the big-hitting American left-hander.
The former European Tour Order of Merit winner's victory was his fourth on American soil, matching Tony Jacklin and Luke Donald. Sir Nick Faldo, with nine wins in the US, is the only Englishman who can boast more victories on the other side of the Atlantic.
As he got his hands on the trophy, Rose said: "For this little beauty to show up on my mantle piece so early in the season is definitely a fantastic feeling and it sets up a very exciting year."
Unsurprisingly, the 1998 Open Championship silver medalist has now set his sights on the Masters and ending a majorless streak for English golfers stretching back 16 years.
"If you look at the tournaments I've won, Jack's tournament, Tiger's tournament, a Playoff event over here and now a World Golf Championship, the progression is really, really nice," he said. "The only thing that really is the next level up is a major.
"I could become a more prolific winner before I completely focus on the majors 100% as my only goal, but no doubt, I believe I'm a good enough player now and I've learned enough along the way that I have a realistic shot every time I tee it up in a major.
"So that's a good place to be. I feel like I'm actually in probably a perfect spot. The expectations are not too high but I feel my ability is good enough to get the job done."
For Watson, who started the final round with a three-shot lead only to find himself two behind after seven, it was a case of 'what might have been'. A stunning approach to the last gave him a ten-foot birdie opportunity to tie Rose and force a play-off but he was unable to convert it.
"That's the worst I've hit the ball all year," said the Floridian. "But I still had a chance in the end, so I was proud of myself for fighting, not giving up and grinding it out. I never got down today. Never got mad at myself. Just tried to figure it out. I'm trying to learn the game. In a bad situation like this, I'm trying to figure out how to correct it."
Rory McIlroy finished a further shot behind in third place to hold on to his world No.1 ranking and continue a stunning run of form that has seen him finish in the top-five in ten of his last 11 events. Rounds of 65 and 67 saw the Northern Irishman jump up the leaderboard after a slow start.
"I would have taken this after Friday," he reflected. "It's been a really good weekend, and a lot of positives to take from it. It wasn't quite the way I wanted to finish, but it's still been a good week."
Meanwhile, fresh concerns were raised over the fitness of Tiger Woods, who had to withdraw on the 12th hole after apparently injuring his Achilles. The 14-time major-winner, who shot a stunning 62 to finish tied-second last weekend at the Honda Classic, appeared visibly hurt early in his final round and ultimately pulled out after completing just 11 holes. You can read more about Woods' latest injury scare here.
Scotland's Martin Laird finished tied 24th to bank a cheque for $76,000, with compatriot Paul Lawrie pocketing $42,000 for finishing in a tie for 60th.
The day, though, belonged to Rose, who landed his fourth PGA Tour title in the last 21 months, giving himself a total of 11 professional victories since he turned professional in 1998.