Justin Rose delivered a links golf masterclass to win the 2014 Scottish Open at Royal Aberdeen.
In relatively benign conditions, the 33-year-old Englishman carded six birdies in a flawless final round of 65 to finish on 16-under-par and win by two shots from Kristoffer Broberg, the Swede having carded a splendid 66.
The victory made it back-to-back wins for the 2013 US Open champion following his triumphs in the Quicken Loans National three weeks ago and, afterwards, he admitted that it was nice to finally get his first professional win in Scotland.
“It's nice to get that little monkey off my back, for sure," he admitted. "It wasn't really something that was playing too much on my mind but you guys invented the game and the knowledge of golf up here is second-to-none so it's pretty special. I've had some good weeks in Scotland and, as an amateur, I won the St Andrews Links Trophy, so I'm very pleased."
Rose, whose maternal grandfather was Scottish, added: "I'm just delighted to have won - it's unbelievable to be back in the winner's circle so soon. It's the first time I've ever won two tournaments in a row.
"I was pretty calm and got off to a good start, which definitely helped. I'm just really, really pleased."
Home favourite Marc Warren, who shared the lead going into the final round with Rose, was left to ponder what might have been for the second time in three years. The Glasgow man squandered a glorious chance to win at Castle Stuart in 2012 but, this year, despite coming up with a four-under 67 to close out his tournament, he was powerless to prevent Rose’s romp.
"It was a pleasure to watch Justin today." Marc Warren
“There wasn’t a lot I could have done about that today,” admitted Warren, who finished third on 11-under-par, three behind Broberg and one ahead of Stephen Gallacher, Tyrrell Hatton, Shane Lowry and Matteo Manassero.
“Justin hit it great all day and holed the putts when he needed to. Once he gets out in front, he’s very tough to catch. He was clinical.
“Obviously, his confidence was high after winning a couple of weeks ago in America and you could see that today. He made absolutely no mistakes. I think he made two bad swings all day and even they were just a fraction out. I’d rather not have been on the receiving end of it but it really was a pleasure to watch.”
Phil Mickelson’s title defence ended with a battling 65, which left him tied for 11th, eight shots adrift of Rose. The American insisted that he would be taking a lot of positives from the week into his Open defence, which gets underway at Royal Liverpool on Thursday.
“I feel a lot sharper than I did a week ago and I think this is a great way to get ready for the Open Championship,” said the 44-year-old.”As we’ve gone on, I’ve got sharper and sharper and my game has got better and better. This was a really good week for me to see what I need to work on these next few days getting ready for the Open and it also gives me some momentum.”
Meanwhile, Stephen Gallacher came within a whisker of breaking the course record at Royal Aberdeen for a fourth time this week when he flirted with a 62 down the stretch. In the end, he posted a 63 to match the mark set earlier in the day by Felipe Aguilar and declared himself satisfied with his week’s work.
“I’ve played great, probably as good as I have all year,” he said. “Mentally, I kept it going when I had a few problems, so I’m delighted to have given myself such a low one today.”
Gallacher was playing alongside compatriot Scott Jamieson and the duo gave the home fans plenty to cheer in playing the course in a combined 15-under-par, Jamieson carding a seven-under 64 to go with Gallacher’s gallant eight-under effort. Glasgow man Jamieson's stunning Scottish Open finish also secured his place in next week's Open Championship, bringing the total number of Scots at Hoylake to eight.
Meanwhile, it was confirmed that 65,833 people attended this year’s championship. Although the weekend figure was down on 2013 at Castle Stuart, the overall attendance was up by around 300 and is the highest crowd achieved since the championship left Loch Lomond in 2010.
The 2014 Scottish Open :: Your thoughts
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