After finishing runner-up in the last two FedExCup Playoff events, Justin Rose was No. 2 in the standings coming into the finale, trailing only Bryson DeChambeau.
Continuing his stellar play, Rose was tied for second with McIlroy through 54 holes, sitting three strokes back of Tiger Woods. The 38-year old was facing some additional pressure as this was his first tournament as world No. 1, a career milestone he’d reached for the first time.
It ended up not being Rose’s best round. Two bogeys to just one birdie sent him out in 1-over 36, and he was even worse on the back nine.
DeChambeau’s struggles for the week kept Rose as the projected FedExCup Champion winner for most of the day, but after bogeys on Nos. 11, 14, and 16, he’d fallen outside of the top five and needed to play the last two holes in 1-under or better to regain that position on top.
Rose parred 17, and then, needing a birdie, unleashed a monstrous 360-yard drive that actually ran through the fairway. His approach was inches from disaster, just barely missing a greenside bunker and bouncing onto the green. From there, he was able to two-putt for birdie and lock up the FedExCup Championship, and its $10 million payout.
“Yeah, obviously I think the reason I’m sort of standing here today as FedExCup is largely to do with the consistency with which I’ve played, a ton of top 10s. Obviously had a couple of wins on the PGA TOUR, as well, this year, and managed to keep that going into the Playoffs with finishing the year with three top 5s,” said Rose.
“There were a lot of scenarios at play. That’s what the beauty of this format is. I think obviously for me this year it rewarded consistent golf.”
Rose shot a final-round 3-over 73 to finish T4.
While Rose undoubtedly would have liked to have fared better on Sunday, Rose still leaves Atlanta happy with his result, and happy with the state of his game going into next week’s Ryder Cup, where he figures to play a key role for the European squad.
“That was intense. I think this weekend is a pretty good introduction into the Ryder Cup for sure,” said a smiling Rose.
For the season, Rose managed an impressive 11 top-10 finishes in just 18 PGA Tour events. It will not be enough to get serious consideration over Brooks Koepka for the much-coveted PGA Tour Player of the Year Award, but all in all, it was a great 2018 for Rose.
“I was fortunate enough to win the 2007 European Tour Order of Merit, but there was nothing quite like the intensity of this with the Playoff-style format back then. But whenever you win over the course of a season, it just gives it something extra, it gives it something special. It’s very unique,” continued Rose.
“And I wasn’t able to win the tournament this week, but I was able to win the season, and that’s something that maybe — there will be weeks — next week I’ll have another opportunity to win a tournament.
“But this opportunity only presents itself if you play very, very good golf for a long period of time through the course of a season, so I’m proud to have taken my chance this year.”