Justin Rose won the Scottish Open by two shots after a final round six-under 65 on Sunday, sealing back-to-back victories either side of the Atlantic and bolstering his confidence ahead of next week’s British Open.
The 2013 U.S. Open champion turned the last day into a procession, rolling in six birdies and going bogey-free on a windless Royal Aberdeen links course that was there for the taking on a day of low scoring.
Unheralded Swede Kristoffer Broberg finished second on 14-under after a 66. That earned him one of the three qualifying places for the British Open at Hoylake, along with other top-10 finishers Tyrrell Hatton and Scott Jamieson.
Rose, who started the day tied for the lead with Marc Warren, eased to a first win in Europe since 2007 and backed up his victory at the Quicken Loans National at Congressional last month that ended a year-long drought going back to the U.S. Open at Merion.
“It feels unbelievable to be back in the winner’s circle so quickly,” said Rose, who has banked almost $2-million (U.S.)in prize money for his impressive fortnight’s work.
There were birdies aplenty on Sunday because of the ideal conditions, with Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher and Chile’s Felipe Aguilar breaking the course record with eight-under 63s and deposed champion Phil Mickelson saving his best round for last with a 65. If players wanted one last tough test before Hoylake, it wasn’t going to come as Royal Aberdeen was laid bare with a lack of wind off the North Sea, soft greens and easy pin positions.
Likely up to No. 3 in the world from No. 6 with this 15th professional victory worldwide, Rose is in prime form heading to his home major. And there was no stopping him here.
The Englishman was nerveless in making birdies at Nos. 2 and 3 – from a combined 40 feet – to power into a two-shot lead over Warren, who was looking to avenge a final-round meltdown at the Scottish Open two years ago.
Rose added three more birdies in the front nine and another at No. 12, before parring his way home. He had the luxury of being able to soak up the applause as he ambled down the 18th hole, having planted his drive straight down the fairway and his approach onto the centre of the green.
His iron play has been imperious this week, reviving memories of the form he produced during his first – and only – major win 13 months ago.
“I was pretty calm out there as I got off to a good start,” Rose said. “I never felt in a lot of trouble.”
Rose is making a habit of winning on tough courses, with Royal Aberdeen joining a list that includes Merion, Doral, Valderrama and most recently Congressional.
Mickelson was tied for 11th while Rory McIlroy tied for 14th after a 67. Both world stars seemed satisfied with the state of their games ahead of the British Open, however.
“I feel a lot sharper and I feel like I have direction in my ball-striking and direction in my short game and putting,” said Mickelson, who will be defending the claret jug.
It was more Scottish Open heartbreak for Warren (70), who wasn’t within two shots of playing partner Rose from the second hole. In 2012, Warren blew a three-shot lead with four to play but it was a different story here.
“Not a lot I could have done about that,” Warren said. “Once he gets out in front, he’s very tough to catch. The whole day he was very clinical.
“I don’t like being on the end of it, but it was a pleasure to watch.”