Chasing a second victory of the season Justin Rose goes low four days in a row to comfortably take care of business in the ball-striking paradise that is historic Colonial Country Club.
Welcome to the Monday Finish where the former U.S. Open champion held off the challenge from the current U.S. Open champion to become the fifth multiple winner of the 2017-18 FedExCup season as he cruised to a three-shot win.
1. Rose – when he’s got his game clicking – is both awesome and annoying to watch. Awesome because the precision and skill with which he strikes the ball just leaves you in awe, and annoying because it just reminds you how your own game will likely never feel that flawless. Of course Rose made mistakes over the four days, but they were few and far between. And when he did he bounced back quickly. A bogey on the third hole on Sunday was followed by four birdies in the next six holes. A short miss for birdie on the 10th was followed with birdie on 11. He just stayed clutch all week long. Now second in the FedExCup, Rose is one of the early favorites to take the season-long race. And his chances for the upcoming U.S. Open look very good indeed.
2. Speaking of players rounding into form heading towards the U.S. Open … last year’s winner at Erin Hills is clearly back from his injury concerns. Brooks Koepka did everything he could to make Rose uncomfortable on Sunday but it wasn’t enough. His final-round 63 was his second of the tournament and third in five rounds after he equaled the TPC Sawgrass course-record 63 in the final round at THE PLAYERS. The concerns about his wrist injury, which had him out of action for months after surgery earlier this season, have seemingly completely disappeared. Koepka might be sick of Rose though. He was runner-up to him at the World Golf Championships–HSBC Champions also.
3. What a roller coaster week for Kevin Na. Open with a sublime 62. Finish with a scintillating course-record tying 61. But sadly he was 3 over for the middle rounds (73-70). It shows how hard it is to put four rounds together on the PGA TOUR. You can be untouchable for half a tournament but it won’t cut it against the best. His putting stats from Round 1 to Round 2 were insane. Round 1: Na gained 3.358 strokes on the field but then lost 4.273 strokes on the greens in Round 2. Thursday he had 22 putts, making 126 feet, 7 inches of them. Friday it was 34 putts and just 44 feet, 8 inches. With back-to-back top-10 results in Texas, Na has moved to 46th in the FedExCup and is how we say … trending.
4. Emiliano Grillo is having a sneaky decent season. His rookie season of 2015-16 – where he claimed his lone PGA TOUR win and was Rookie of The Year after finishing 11th in the FedExCup – was backed up with a fair 2017. He finished 67th last season with just two top-10s but yesterday’s third-place finish now gives him five top-10s this season. The Argentinean missed just one cut out of 16 starts this season and sits 29th in the FedExCup standings. He’s one to keep an eye on.
5. It is getting harder to believe Jordan Spieth when it comes to his putting. He says it is coming around. He says he made progress this week. But he ranked 70th of the 78 players to make the cut in Strokes Gained: Putting at Colonial. Now we certainly hold Spieth to a higher standard than others on the greens because we have seen him be incredible with the flat stick in the past but the longer this continues the less likely it won’t grow into a more significant mental road block. He missed seven putts inside 10 feet this week – one of those was inside 3 feet, another one inside 5 feet and two more inside 7 feet. He is now 192nd on the PGA TOUR in Strokes Gained: Putting this season. Yes that’s right. The guy who was ninth on TOUR in 2015, second on TOUR two seasons ago and 42nd on TOUR last year in the stat is now 192nd. While it is certainly a funk, champions always seem to find a way and we remain hopeful an uptick is just around the corner.
1. Rose opened his final round with a front-nine 30, marking the 20th time he has shot 30 or better for his front or back nine holes in a round on TOUR (fifth time in a final round). Rose finished with a four-round total of 260 coming one shot short of Zach Johnson’s tournament record of 259 (2010) at the Fort Worth Invitational. He has now converted three of 13 career 36-hole leads or co-leads (2010 The National, 2011 BMW Championship, 2018 Fort Worth Invitational) and four of 14 career 54-hole leads or co-leads (2010 The National, 2011 BMW Championship, 2015 Zurich Classic of New Orleans, 2018 Fort Worth Invitational) to victory.
2. Just over half (55%) of Rose’s total strokes gained for the week were a result of his approach shot performance. Of events where ShotLink lasered all four rounds it was a career second best effort in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green for Rose (+2.562). In fact his SG: Approach-the-Green performance was the best by a winner this season and was also the best dating back to last seasons the Memorial Tournament where Jason Dufner recorded a +2.671 per-round average performance. Rose marked the ninth of the last 10 winners of the Fort Worth Invitational to have outperformed the field by over +0.5 strokes per round in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green.
3. Rose is the first winner since Zach Johnson (2010) to lead the field in Greens in Regulation on the way to victory at the Fort Worth Invitational. Rose played the par 4s at Colonial Country Club at a combined 14 under, which tied for the second-best performance on the par 4s by a winner and the tied for third-best since 1983 at the Fort Worth Invitational.
4. Rose tied Nick Faldo for the most PGA TOUR victories by an Englishman since 1983 and moves to second in the FedExCup following his ninth win. He also moves to third in the world rankings. It is his ninth top-10 finish since the start of the 2017 FedExCup Playoffs, the most of any player in that span.
5. Chilean former top amateur Joaquin Niemann – at just 19-years-old – is on track for potential Special Temporary Membership and perhaps a PGA TOUR card. His eighth place finish helped his season tally to 180 non-member FedExCup points, which would rank him 144th in this season’s FedExCup standings. He can earn his card for the 2018-19 season if he finishes in the top 125. Niemann has starts in the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide and the FedEx St. Jude Classic in the next two weeks. He needs just 89 points to earn special temporary membership, which would allow him to accept unlimited sponsor exemptions this season in his quest for the top 125. He has already likely done more than enough to feature in the Web.com Finals.