Justin Rose returned to form in stunning style at the Memorial tournament in Ohio last night. In winning his first title in more than 160 starts on the American tour, the forgotten man of English golf beat a world-class field containing the likes of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
But it was the boy wonder of the PGA Tour who the former boy wonder of Europe had to defeat to record his first victory in three years. In capricious gusts at Muirfield Village, Rose – who has won four time on the European Tour – recorded a best-of-the-day 66 for a 18-under total, which saw off Rickie Fowler, the 21-year-old rookie, by three strokes.
It was arguably the finest performance of Rose's career and took him to the brink of the world's top 30, continuing an incredible season for the British game. While four of his countrymen are in the top 10 – which he, himself, graced just a few years ago – Rose will simply be happy to have end his American drought after basing himself there six years ago.
He has now all-but qualified for next month's Open Championship at St Andrews and is well in contention for a Ryder Cup berth. But today he will still have to try to qualify for the US Open at a course close to the scene of his glory. After this success the 29-year-old who so memorably finished fourth as a 17-year-old amateur at the 1998 Open should feel nothing is beyond him.
"I couldn't wish for a better place – it's an honour," Rose told the tournament host, Jack Nicklaus, after holing the winning putt. Clutching his baby son, he then said to American television: "I have had a few close calls and sometimes you wonder why you can't get it done. But when you do it feels easy."
Meanwhile, Woods seemed content enough to have got in four competitive rounds before next week's US Open. He finished on six-under following a final-round 72. Mickelson would have leapfrogged Woods to world No 1 if he had won, but the Masters champions could do no better than fifth, seven behind Rose.