Torrey Pines has a well-earned reputation for being one of the most difficult courses in the world, but No. 1 apparently cannot be intimidated, regardless of how daunting the venue is.
Justin Rose arrived at the first tee box on Sunday with a three-stroke advantage, and despite giving two of those back to the field over his first five holes, his inevitable triumph never felt in doubt. By playing bogey-free 5-under golf over his final 13 holes, Rose shot a 3-under 69 to win the Farmers Insurance Open by two strokes over a recently-reinvigorated Adam Scott.
Rose, who began the week as the No. 1 golfer in the Official World Golf Rankings, was brilliant for the week at Torrey Pines, as his final score of 21-under was the lowest winning total in the long-running event since Tiger Woods reached 22-under in the 1999 edition.
It is yet another highlight to a ridiculously good year-plus stretch for the 38-year-old Brit, as his Torrey Pines victory marks the 6th win worldwide in his last 14 months of play. That slim lead now has considerable cushion over top American Brooks Koepka, as both heavyweights are scheduled to play in Saudi Arabia next week.
At 16-under par, recently-slumping Hideki Matsuyama and a red-hot Talor Gooch were the only other players to even finish within five shots of Rose.
The winners of the last two editions, Jason Day and Jon Rahm, respectively, joined Rory McIlroy in rounding out the top 5, while seven-time Farmers Insurance Open champion Tiger Woods saved the best round of his 2019 season debut for Sunday, shooting a 5-under 67 to move up 28 spots on the final leaderboard, although at T20, he was still 11 shots south of Rose.
1 Justin Rose -21
2 Adam Scott -19
3 Hideki Matsuyama -16
3 Talor Gooch -16
5 Jason Day -14
5 Rory McIlroy -14
5 Jon Rahm -14
8 Billy Horschel -13
9 Gary Woodland -12
9 Cameron Smith -12
9 Scott Brown -12
9 Joel Dahmen -12
13 Tony Finau -11
13 Patrick Reed -11
20 Tiger Woods -10
20 Charles Howell III -10
25 Danny Willett -9
25 Xander Schauffele -9
35 Jordan Spieth -7
35 Keegan Bradley -7
43 Marc Leishman -5
57 Bill Haas -3
62 Brandt Snedeker -2
66 Rickie Fowler -1
72 Joaquin Niemann +1
How Justin Rose Won the Farmers Insurance Open
The World No. 1 transmuting a three-stroke 54-hole lead into a Sunday victory is not surprising on the surface, but there were a few questions about the state of Justin Rose’s game after the 10-time PGA Tour champion posted an uncharacteristically poor T34 in a relatively-weak field at last week’s Desert Classic. Not a lot of Sunday drama was expected, but Rose did make things interesting early when he carded bogeys on Nos. 1, 4, and 5, although even during that early slump, nobody got closer than two strokes behind him, as Adam Scott found some early struggles as well.
Starting with a birdie on the par-4 7th hole, however, Rose was able to right the ship, and from there cruised to the title about as pressure-free as someone trying to hold the World No. 1 position can feel. A birdie on 9 allowed Rose to make the turn in even-par for the day, and he showed little in the way of nerves on the back on 10, 16, and 18 to finish the day with a 69.
After playing the first 14 holes in even-par, Scott did the reverse 2012-Open Championship by carding birdies on each of the final four holes, but it was too little too late.
Rose’s 26 birdies for the week led the field, with most of those coming courtesy of stellar ball-striking. He ranked second for the week in greens in regulation and fifth in strokes gained: approach-the-green.
Driving: 309.8 yards (11th)
Fairways: 35/56, 62.5% (8th)
Greens: 56/72, 77.8% (2nd)
Putting: 1.589, 89 putts/GIR (3rd)
Four Rounds: 63, 66, 69, 69 (-21, 1st)
Scoring: 2 Eagles, 26 Birdies, 37 Pars, 5 Bogeys, 2 Doubles
What It Means For Rose
It does not feel that the reigning FedExCup Champion has much to prove anymore, but with the Farmers Insurance Open victory, Rose has now reached double-digits in the PGA Tour wins column, which ties him with several highly-regarded players such as Sergio Garcia, Larry Nelson, and Fuzzy Zoeller.
The win also gives Rose considerable cushion atop the OWGR, something that has to feel good considered how back-and-forth the competition for that much-coveted position had been as of late between Rose and Koepka, a man who won two of last year’s four majors.
The win also keeps going a dominant stretch of play for Rose, who, since the 2017 FedExCup Playoffs, has notched 26 top-10s worldwide in just 35 starts.
The round of the day came from another player who is a native of somewhere other than the United States. Young Aussie star Cameron Smith opened his day with three consecutive birdies, later adding four more and an eagle to shoot a field-low 7-under 65 on the day.
Smith rocketed 39 spots up the final leaderboard to finish T9, his second top-10 in five events of the new season.
Needing just one more stroke than Smith on Sunday, also to finish T9, was the long-hitting Gary Woodland, who had just one bogey over his final 18 holes.
Plagued by inconsistency in the past, Woodland is having a stellar 2019 season, already notching five top-10s in just seven starts, a streak that has him third in the current FedExCup Standings.
Among those to shoot 5-under 67 was Hideki Matsuyama, who finished T3 to snap an awful recent slump worldwide. The 26-year-old from Japan hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation, looking much more like the man who notched seven victories between the 2016 and 2017 seasons, before getting shut out last year.
Among those most expected to challenge Rose on Sunday was 2017 Farmers Insurance Open Champion Jon Rahm, who started the final day four strokes behind. The man who took pole position after round one with a sizzling 10-under 62 on the north course, had an overwhelmingly pedestrian Sunday, carding just one birdie, one bogey, and 16 pars in a round of even-par 72.
Rahm still managed to finish T5 for the week, but he could not have been happy with how he finished the week.
Doug Ghim had made waves in just his eighth PGA Tour start when he opened with a 63 and was in fourth place at the 54-hole mark. Inexperience seemed to rule Sunday for Ghim, however, as a 3-over 75 was the worst of anyone who finished in the top 25.
Ghim’s T20 matched his career best finish from last year’s Wyndham Championship. Sunday’s biggest drop down the leaderboard was by recently-struggling Bill Haas, who plunged 32 spots into a tie for 57th after a 4-over 76 on Sunday.
Making his 2019 season debut in an event he has won seven times, Tiger Woods was surprisingly ordinary over his first three days at Torrey Pines, posting rounds of 70, 70, and 71 respectively.
However, after an even-par front nine on Sunday, Tiger finally found his groove on his back nine (which was the course’s front nine), playing his final nine holes in bogey-free 5-under par to shoot a 67 and finish in a tie for 20th place. His putter was off all week, but the performance as a whole had to be encouraging.
Driving: 298.2 yards (32nd)
Fairways: 31/56, 55.4% (31st)
Greens: 54/72, 75% (8th)
Putts/GIR: 1.759, 95 putts/GIR (48th)
Four Rounds: 70, 70, 71, 67 (-10, T20)
Scoring: 19 Birdies, 45 Pars, 7 Bogeys, 1 Double
Final-Round Video Highlights
“There’s a lot of cool things. Yeah, today’s been a good day. Obviously, yeah, double digits, that sounds a whole lot better than nine. It’s been sort of an emotional week, a different week. Obviously dedicated this one to my caddie Fooch, who’s sitting at home and probably finding it much harder to sit at home than actually being out here and probably harder than the heart surgery itself watching this weekend. This one’s for him. I mean, 21 under par around Torrey Pines is great golf obviously, but you had to do it.”
– Justin Rose, 2019 Farmers Insurance Open Champion