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England’s Rose blooms after 17-year wait for major
On that day, Mickelson stood back and applauded Rose for his courageous play on the greens. Nine months later, it was the same player who suffered at the hands of the 32-year-old Englishman, finishing one shot behind for a sixth second place at the Open.
Rose’s technique, which held up so well at Merion as he calmly made par on the unforgiving 18th under intense pressure, has always been a thing of beauty. It helped him capture big amateur tournaments when he was 14 and 15. By the time he’d won the silver medal at Royal Birkdale in 1998 for being the highest-placed amateur, comparisons were already being made with Faldo.
Rose turned professional the very next day but missed 21 cuts in a row. Victories in the Dunhill Championship and British Masters in 2002 confirmed his potential but it wasn’t until last year that he really became a force, winning at Doral for his first victory in a World Golf Championship.
“I think the fact that it hasn’t been easy for him, took him a while to get where he did, has meant that he is a great inspiration for everybody here,” said Chris Gotla, general manager of North Hants Golf club where Rose played as a teenager. “Everyone here knew how good he was going to be.”
Rose, who was born in Johannesburg and moved to England with his family when he was 5, was playing in the final round with Donald, who fell away after a poor start and tied for eighth _ seeing yet another chance at a major slip by.
The 32-year-old Rose has made that breakthrough, though.
Plenty more could now follow.
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