Justin Rose Wins Farmers Insurance Open, Mackenzie Hughes Top Canadian

2019 Farmers Insurance Open Winner Justin Rose - File Image

By Alfie Lau

England’s Justin Rose was never seriously threatened Sunday as he walked away with a two-stroke victory over Adam Scott at the 2019 Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose, who finished at (-21) after his second straight round of (-3) 69, made five birdies in his final 12 holes to win his 10th PGA Tour title, now the most amongst golfers from England.

Rose dedicated the win to his regular caddy, Mark Fulcher, who recently underwent heart surgery and is expected back on Rose’s bag by the Masters. In the interim, Gareth Lord, best known as Henrik Stenson’s caddy, is filling in and was on the bag for Rose’s San Diego victory.

Rose opened the day with a three-stroke lead and despite making three bogeys in his first five holes, Rose rallied with three birdies in his next five holes. And all through the course, nobody who was within five strokes of Rose made any sort of run at him.

Rose’s closest pursuer, Aussie Adam Scott, couldn’t make anything positive happen early, with his most notable shot a missed 18-inch putt on the fifth hole. Scott’s putter also ran cold when he missed makeable birdie putts on 11, 12 and 13, but he did make birdies on three of his final four holes to make the result respectable.

Rose, the Number 1 golfer in the world, had made news in the offseason by changing clubs and equipment, with Honma, a Japanese company now prominently displayed on his bag.

But the change was also part of Rose’s plan to use a different putter, an Axis 1 prototype made by a company out of Boston. And while his driver is made by Honma, he is still playing a TaylorMade M6 fairway metal and a Titleist Vokey 60 degree wedge.

And while the leaderboard in San Diego features notable names such as Jason Day, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm at T5 and (-14) for the week, they were never really in contention, finishing seven strokes behind Rose.

And what of the week’s biggest early attraction, Tiger Woods?

Woods finished a backdoor T20 at (-10) after making five birdies in his final eight holes. All week long, Woods had played smart golf, leaving the driver in the bag and hitting fairway metals off the tee. Hitting indifferent iron approaches left Woods with too many long putts and a cold putter, until his final eight holes, meant Woods was still trying to knock off some of the rust since he last hit a meaningful shot at the Ryder Cup in Paris (his $10 Million “Match” against Phil Mickelson and the Hero Challenge can’t really be considered rounds where meaningful golf shots were hit).

On the Canadian side of the ledger, Dunday, ON’s Mackenzie Hughes shot his fourth consecutive round of (-2) 70 to finish T29 at (-8) for the tournament. Hughes, who played Saturday’s third round with Tiger Woods, played to a considerably smaller audience, as playing partners Russell Knox and Nicholas Lindheim don’t move the needle quite like Woods.

Surrey’s Adam Svensson started the day at (-10), but three bogeys on his front 9 cost Svensson a lot of money, as he would finish T35 at (-7) after a final round (+3) 75. On the PGA Tour, over par Sunday rounds are called “spending a lot of money” because of the difference in purse from a top 10 to a top 35 finish.

Svensson spent a lot of money Sunday, but undoubtedly, it will be a learning experience for him, as playing in a Sunday threesome just four groups in front of the final threesome of Rose, Scott and Rahm is pressure Svensson hasn’t lived through before.

It was a nice recovery by Abbotsford’s Nick Taylor on his final 9 holes Sunday, as he made four birdies to counter the four bogeys he made on his front nine. Taylor was in the unenviable position of playing, with Gary Woodland and Matt Jones, in the group immediately in front of Tiger Woods. An even par 72 final round for Taylor had him finish at (-5) for the tournament and T43.

Ontario’s Ben Silverman played with Woods for the first time ever and succumbed to the multiple distractions that come with playing with the Biggest Cat on the PGA Tour. Silverman started the day at (-5) but a (+3) round of 75 saw him tumble down the leaderboard and right into preparations for the Monday qualifier in Phoenix for the Waste Management Open.

With only nine Web.com graduates getting into the 132-person field in Scottsdale, that means the Monday qualifier at McCormick Ranch might be the most competitive event all week in Phoenix.

With only three spots available, the field features a Major winner (2009 PGA Champion YE Yang), PGA Tour winners like Billy Mayfair, seasoned PGA Tour veterans like Ricky Barnes and David Hearn and Web.com grads with a low priority like Wyndham Clark, Silverman and Sepp Straka. Defending the BC flag is current PGA of BC champion Kevin Stinson, who shot a round of 65 in a Thursday pre-qualifier to earn his 1:10 p.m. tee time at McCormick Ranch.

One player who avoided this birdie fest is Talor Gooch, who finished T3 in San Diego to earn his spot in the Scottsdale field.