2013 US Open Champ, Justin Rose fired a final round one under par 70 on Sunday afternoon at the Quicken Loans National, and watched his playoff partner, Shawn Stefani, make the same mistake on the first playoff hole(#18) as he did on his 72nd hole. The difference was, Rose minimized the damage at one of Congressional’s toughest holes, and Shawn Stefani did not.
The course announcers kept repeating the same line on Sunday, “we came to the Blue Course at Congressional Country Club for the Quicken Loans National, and a US Open broke out”. Justin Rose has proven during his time on the PGA Tour, including last year at Merion, that the tougher the test, the better he plays.
The biggest shot Justin Rose made on Sunday was a bogey five at the final hole. After hitting his drive to far left, he over-cooked a shot from the trees, and wound up in the pond guarding the left side of the treacherous hole.
After taking a drop, he blew past the cup, and needed to make a putt to have any chance. He showed his major championship pedigree, and drained the putt that created a playoff.
Justin Rose didn’t make the same mistake on the playoff, he watched from the center of the fairway as Stefani made the mistakes.
“Congressional got its reputation back after the U.S. Open,” Rose said. “I really enjoy this type of golf and this type of test. I think it tested all of us. I’m delighted.”
Sunday at Congressional became more about making pars and less about birdies. Just ask Patrick Reed who began the day with a two-shot lead, and failed to make pars.
Reed, who had never lost a tournament when leading after having the 54-hold lead, gave away his Sunday advantage in two holes, and never got back on-track for the finale’.
The two-time winner on the year shot a six over par 77 and ended his day in a tie for 11th place.
Reed could have joined an elite group of players who had won four times before the age of 24, that included Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, and Rory McIlroy.
Congressional was tough all week, but like Pinehurst a couple of weeks ago, grew teeth for the players who played well enough to make the cut. There were only five players who broke par on Sunday, and three who carded rounds in the 60’s.
The best round of the day was a 3-under par 68 posted early by 33 year-old Argentine, Andres Romero. Romero was able to get in the clubhouse and post a 2-under par score that came close to standing up.
Four players who were not yet qualified for the Open Championship and finished in the top 12 earned spots in next months major at Hoylake. Andres will be joined by Runner-up, Shawn Stefani, Ben Martin, and Charley Hoffman.
There will be the same deal at the Greenbriar next week, and one spot will be available at the John Deere Classic.
Sunday at Congressional turned out to be case of survival. Justin Rose proved once again that when the conditions get tough, he can win golf tournaments. He has won on some of the most difficult golf courses this country has to offer.