SAN DIEGO – Englishman Justin Rose overcame a poor start Sunday to win the $7.1 million Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course’s South Course by two shots over Australian Adam Scott.
Rose began play Sunday with a three-shot lead over Scott and a four-shot lead over Spaniard Jon Rahm. Rose bogeyed the first, fourth and fifth holes — and birdied the third — while Rahm parred each of the first five holes and birdied the sixth to pull within one shot.
But the birdie on the sixth hole would prove to be Rahm’s last. He parred all the remaining holes, except for the par-3 11th which he bogeyed.
Rose began rebuilding his lead with birdies on the seventh, ninth and 10th holes. He completed the round with birdies on the 16th and 18th holes for a 3-under-par 69. His four-round score of 21-under-par 267 was one off the tournament record, set by George Burns in 1987 and tied by Tiger Woods in 1999.
“A three-shot lead is never easy, and just the start was anything that could go wrong did go wrong,” said Rose, who is first on the Official World Golf Ranking. “So it felt like I had to work hard for this one today. I guess to win in the position I am in the world rankings, too … there’s a few little extra special pieces that make this win a fun one.”
Rose said his near-record score was a combination of “the rain last week softened everything up just enough, the fairways played a little bit wider” and less wind than usual.
The victory made Rose the first player from England with 10 PGA Tour titles since 1945. Nick Faldo had nine from 1984 to 1997.
Rose received $1.278 million, pushing his PGA Tour career winnings to over $50 million. Scott also surpassed $50 million for his PGA Tour career with the $766,800 runner’s-up check.
Rose dedicated the victory to his caddy, Mark Fulcher, who is recovering from heart surgery. Gareth Lord, usually Henrik Stenson’s caddie, was Rose’s caddy for the tournament.
“It’s been sort of an emotional week, a different week,” Rose said. “Obviously dedicated this one to my caddie Fooch, who’s sitting at home and probably finding it much harder to sit at home than actually being out here and probably harder than the heart surgery itself watching this weekend. This one’s for him.”
Rose said he expects Fulcher will return for The Masters in April.
“Anything before that would be a bonus,” Rose said.
Scott completed the front nine in par with a bogey on the fifth hole and a birdie on the ninth. He parred each of the first five holes on the back nine, then birdied the final four.
“I just didn’t quite have the game on the front nine, and it’s a shame because Justin was a little shaky early with some bogeys and I just wasn’t solid tee to green on the front,” Scott said. “I played really good on the back, but just wasn’t quite where it was yesterday.
“I couldn’t really close the gap, so he kind of never was really under much pressure because when he made a bogey, so would I, and Jon wasn’t charging. He didn’t play good the front nine, either. By the time I got it sorted out, it was a bit too late.”
Rahm dropped into a three-way tie for fifth with Australian Jason Day and Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland at 14-under-par 274, seven shots off the lead following a par-72 for his final round.
Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and American Talor Gooch tied for third at 16- under-par 272, five shots off the lead.
Tiger Woods had his best round of the tournament Sunday, a 5-under-par 67, to be among five golfers tied for 20th, at 10-under-par 278, 11 shots off the lead. He began the round among 15 golfers tied for 48th at 5-under-par 211, 13 shots off the lead.
“It was nice to shake off some rust and see what I need to work on,” Woods said after his first official PGA Tour event. “Still need — I think I need to hit the ball a little bit better with my irons, hit the ball more pin high, which I normally do a pretty good job of.
“This week wasn’t as good as I would like to have it. If I can just continue improving, driving the ball just a little bit better. I know my putting will come around because (caddie) Joey (LaCava) and I were both struggling reading these things. I struggled on my own, I brought Joey in, we struggled together. It was just one of those weeks where I just didn’t quite see the lines quite right. My speed was good, but my lines were just not very good.”
Woods will next play in the Genesis Open, which begins Feb. 14 at The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades.
Rose will next play in the European Tour’s Saudi International in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia, which begins Thursday.
Rose said he was “not really” concerned with any safety or political issues.
“I’m not a politician, I’m a pro golfer,” Rose said. “There’s other reasons to go play it. It’s a good field, there’s going to be a lot of world ranking points to play for, by all accounts it’s a good golf course and it will be an experience to experience Saudi Arabia.”
The tournament also begins to fulfill Rose’s commitment to the European Tour.
“Those types of trips are very difficult to make when you golf if you’re going to come straight back to the States and try and keep the momentum going,” Rose said. “But I’m taking three weeks off after it, so to have an international trip fit in the schedule really well, and also it gets one of my European Tour events out of the way very, very early.”
Rose also received a trophy and a surfboard for the victory.
“I have never surfed,” the 38-year-old Rose said. “Way too cold in England to grab surf in. It looks like a cool thing to do. I live in the Bahamas right now. Unfortunately, the waves aren’t quite like they are over here. That’s a pretty cool kind of little gift. It’s going to look fun somewhere in the house.”