Justin Rose thrust himself into contention for the FedEx Cup's $10m jackpot by winning the BMW Championship in Chicago last night. The Englishman lifted his third American tile in 15 months with an impressive wire-to-wire victory.
With his two-stroke victory over the Australian John Senden, Rose collected nigh on £900,000 and put himself into third place on the play-off points list going into this week's Tour Championship in Atlanta. After shooting a first-round 63, Rose bravely maintained the advantage; but it took a chip-in on the 71st hole to confirm his victory. Until then, Rose had looked jittery after a holding a four-shot overnight cushion.
"It means so much to have come through today," said the 31-year-old, after a 71 saw him finish 13-under. "It's fantastic to go to Atlanta in contention for the big prize."
Indeed, a top-five placing on the FedEx Cup standings is all important at Deer Lake as any one of that quintet will win golfs' biggest prize if they prevail in the 30-man field. England will also be represented in Georgia by the world No 1, Luke Donald, who finished fourth at Cog Hill and is one FedEx position behind Rose.
Meanwhile, Rose's great friend Ian Poulter was the star of the show at the Seve Trophy at Saint-Nom-La-Breteche. The Englishman ignored the orders of his captain Paul McGinley when going for the shot which ultimately retained the silverware for Great Britain & Ireland.
What a final day this was on the picturesque layout just outside Paris as the Continentals threatened to overturn a six-and-a-half point deficit in the 10 singles. And but for Poulter's own comeback against the Italian wonder-boy Matteo Manassero, Jean Van de Velde's team may well have achieved the supposedly impossible.
With four to play, Poulter was one down. The Ryder Cup specialist birdied the last three holes to overhaul the devastated 18-year-old. By then, the Continentals had launched a remarkable recovery which saw them take the first five singles. Thomas Bjorn's 2&1 defeat of the world No 2, Lee Westwood, after being three down, summed up their courage.
Four more Continental wins followed and it quickly became obvious McGinley would have to rely on his rookies. Scotland's Scott Jamieson and England's Mark Foster came good in beating Pablo Larrazabal and Raphael Jacquelin by the narrowest margin. If those one-up wins had been reversed then the Continentals would have triumphed. Yet it was Poulter and his chutzpah which took top billing.
When he stood on the 18th fairway, with Manassero already on the green, McGinley told Poulter not to go for the glory shot. "I said to Paul I'm going to go straight at the flag and he's like 'hang on a minute', " explained Poulter. "I did go straight at it in the end, against his orders, but you know what? It came off."
"Ian's the ultimate competitor, the ultimate match-player, the guy you want in your corner," said McGinley. "It was vital we didn't lose his match and, at that stage, I would have taken our chances with a half. So it was important for me to relay that information to him. Ian wasn't having any of it. He hit it to about eight feet and holed the putt Aren't we lucky as Europeans to have him?"
Poulter's contribution didn't end there. He was the only member of the GB & Ire who made the effort to travel from America after appearing in the FedEx play-offs and at a solemn team dinner on Friday, after a deflating day of fourballs, he lifted the mood by relaying a tweet from one of the stayaways, Graeme McDowell.
Soon Poulter was winding up the Ulsterman on Twitter, as was Westwood. "Graeme privately texted back saying, 'back off, I know I've made a mistake'," revealed McGinley.Reuse content