Rose Wins MasterCard Masters


2006 MasterCard MastersMELBOURNE, Australia - On a day when only two players broke 70, all Justin Rose needed was a 1-over 73 to wrap up his first title in four years.
Battling tough pin positions, unpredictable winds and slick greens, Rose overcame a triple-bogey and three bogeys to win the MasterCard Masters on Sunday.
He saved himself with five birdies and finished at 12-under-par 276 for a two- shot victory -- his first since 2002, when the Englishman won his only other two European Tour titles.
'It was a roller coaster,' Rose said. 'I was really pleased, though, that my emotions didn't roller coaster.'
Richard Green, the 2004 champion, was one of two players to break 70, shooting a 3-under 69 to tie for second place at 10-under 278.
Green was joined by Greg Chalmers, who rolled in a long downhill birdie putt at the 18th to finish off a 73. Chalmers was earlier done in by a five-putt, triple-bogey seven at the ninth hole.
Australian amateur Aaron Pike, who led after the first two rounds before he was overtaken by Rose on Saturday, finished in fourth place at 9-under 279.
Pike holed out from a bunker for an eagle at the par-5 14th, but ended his round with consecutive bogeys for the second time in three days. He shot a 2-over 74 -- 10 shots worse than his opening 64 on Thursday.
He wasn't the only player in the field whose score suffered Sunday. Even those who shot well lamented the tough conditions.
'The course played very difficult,' said Green. 'The pin placements were very tough and the firmness of the greens was very difficult as well.'
'It was a really tough golf course today,' Rose said.
After Rose birdied No. 6 to take a three-shot lead, disaster struck. He failed to escape a bunker at the seventh, then three-putted for a triple-bogey to fall into a tie with Chalmers.
After Chalmers' putting mishap at the ninth, Rose birdied the eighth and was back in the lead. But he would be challenged again.
'I stayed very calm,' Rose said. 'Even when I made triple on the seventh I said 'Well, you are tied for the lead, game on.' And it was awesome to bounce back with a birdie on the eighth.'
Rose fell into a tie with Pike when he slid a six-foot par putt past the left edge of the hole at the par-3 15th. He got that shot back with a birdie at the 16th, then moved two ahead when Pike made a three-putt bogey ahead at the 17th.
Pike enjoyed a healthy round of applause as he walked to the 18th green -- deserved acclaim for his unexpected run at the title. But a 50-foot downhill putt ended, amazingly, inside a greenside bunker, and the surprising amateur made bogey to fall into fourth place.
Rose followed in the next group and made a two-putt par from long distance, wrapping up his first win since the 2002 British Masters.
He claimed his finish on Huntingdale's last three holes -- birdie, par, par -- was the difference.
'I bogeyed all three of them on Thursday, one of them on Friday, one on Saturday and I felt like I wanted a lead coming into those holes,' Rose said. 'So to play the last three in one-under was the reason I won the tournament.'
Aaron Baddeley was the fourth Australian to finish in the top five, joining Chalmers, Green and Pike in a good showing for the host country's top golfers. Baddeley shot a 1-under 71 and ended alone in fifth place at 8-under 280.
Aussie Kurt Barnes had a 70 and was sixth at 7-under 281. Matthew Goggin fired the round of the day, a 5-under 67, and led a group of three players who shared seventh place at 6-under 282.
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