Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rose on Stepping Stone to Greatness

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rose on Stepping Stone to Greatness

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID SMITH

IF THERE were any lingering doubts whether Justin Rose has what it takes to become Britain's next major force on the golf course, they were dispelled as he walked from the 18th green at Muirfield on Sunday.

By any stretch of the imagination this year's Open Championship was a triumph for Rose. On the opening day he looked Tiger Woods in the eyes and refused to blink first. Come the end of the round it was the world No1 who had to take a back seat.

Three days later 21-year-old Rose was able to match his aggregate score of one-under-par 283 with outgoing champion David Duval and 1998 title-winner Mark O'Meara.

The youngest player in a field of 156, he beat Woods by one shot and finished ahead of nine members of the European Ryder Cup team that will face the United States at The Belfry in September.

Yet Rose was not satisfied. In the drama that unfolded over a links that provided the ultimate test of golf, he played a supporting role to new champion Ernie Els and that was not enough to pacify a burning desire to win the world's most prestigious title.

But for a second-round 75 when benign conditions left Muirfield temporarily unprotected, Rose could have been in the shake-up on Sunday evening and the fact that he headed for the locker room while four rivals were still engaged in a dramatic playoff was a source of huge disappointment.

"Starting the final day I had a realistic chance of winning," he said.

"Looking at the scores it seemed like no one wanted it, so it was even more frustrating.

"I hit the ball fantastically. I seriously had loads and loads and loads of birdie chances out there but it was one of those days when I felt like breaking my putter.

"I do feel that The Open does something special for me. It is a tournament I love. It is the tournament I want to win more than any other, and that is definitely something I am going to be working towards. …

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