Justin Rose entered the day with a two stroke advantage.
He walked off the eighteenth green disappointed and heart broken.
Rose did not play well all day. Despite his early lead, he was caught by three different players at one time or another. However, despite all the bad luck and bad play that he exhibited Sunday, he stood on the eighteenth green with a chance for birdie and a chance to force a playoff with Jamie Donaldson.
He stepped up to his ball, took his time lining his shot and pushed his ball solidly towards the hole. It looked beautiful, it rolled and curved as if a magnet was directing the ball straight to the bottom of the cup. Nevertheless, there was just not enough curve. The ball bounced off the lip of the hole and was thrown well left.
Rose’s club went flying in the air. Disgruntled and confused, he finished his day tied for second with his playing partner Thorbjorn Olesen.
And if anger and frustration is felt by Rose because he missed the putt, it is misplaced. He never should have had the chance to make that putt and to push the tournament deeper. The only reason why he was only down one was because of a horrible decision by Donaldson to go for a birdie on 18, instead of laying it next to the hole and settle for par.
Despite the gaff, Donaldson played beautifully throughout Sunday. 18 was his only boggy, and he came away with -4 on the day. The only person that played better than him was David Howell, who at one time jumped all of the competition and was in sole possession of first place. But then he four putted 13, finished with a triple boggy and was irrelevant the rest of round.
That is the cruel thing about golf. You can play the 17 holes of your life, but the remaining one can screw everything up.
When it comes down to who should have won the tournament Sunday, a valid case could be made for Olesen. Though he started off awful, he never died. If he would have figured out how to get the job down putting wise, he would be two strokes clear of Donaldson.
But alas. Donaldson has started his year off on the right foot. He played the course professionally Sunday. Even with all the camera and pressure directed towards him, he settled in and won the championship. It was a great day for the man from Wales.
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