PEBBLE BEACH, CA. (Reuters) - Justin Rose said he was proud to contend for more than three days at the U.S. Open with “no game”, even if ultimately he did not have a complete enough package to challenge for victory over the closing holes at Pebble Beach.
Rose birdied the first hole to tie Gary Woodland for the lead on Sunday — they were three clear of the pack — but hit a poor approach shot into a bunker at the par-four second, made bogey and the dye had been cast.
The Englishman ran the tables on the greens for three days, making seemingly every putt he looked at, but he could not quite emulate that form with the short stick on Sunday.
“The putter wasn’t quite as warm today as it was yesterday. Took a bit of a day off,” Rose said after battling to a three-over-par 74 and finishing equal third, a distant six strokes behind winner Woodland.
“I felt like I had to have a day where I pieced everything together to win,” said Rose, who won the 2013 U.S. Open champion and has been a contender in several other majors - most notably the 2017 Masters where he lost to Sergio Garcia in a playoff.
He struggled with his iron play nearly all week at Pebble Beach, and he particularly had trouble with his distance control, coming up short of the green time and again.
The fact that he even had a chance on Sunday speaks volumes for his short game.
“I didn’t have my ‘A’ game this week, and to contend in a major with no game, really, I take the positive from that,” he said.
“I worked really hard to be in this situation with my game this week. Obviously didn’t quite have it early, but did a brilliant job of hanging around.”
Ironically, he felt in much better control of his swing on Sunday, when he had his worst score of the week by four strokes.
Rose said he would not be too discouraged by the result.
“There’s no point in letting it hurt too much. It hurts if you lose at the death and you make a mistake,” said the 38-year-old.
Reporting Steve Keating; Writing by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; editing by Sudipto Ganguly