Rose blossomed in fall last year

2013-02-19T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T15:56:31Z Rose blossomed in fall last yearPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 19, 2013 12:00 am  • 

In a three-week span last fall, Justin Rose played big matches and hunted even bigger game.

In match play, he beat three of the sport's biggest names.

On Sept. 30, Rose rallied from one down with four to play to top Phil Mickelson in the Ryder Cup.

The 32-year-old Brit drained a breaking 30-foot putt on No. 17 to pull the match all-square, and beat him on the 18th. His European team's comeback mirrored his own, and was considered one of the most dramatic, ever, in the sport.

Two weeks later, Rose won $1.6 million after taking the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final, a medal-match play format pitting the world's top eight players.

In the semifinals of the Antalya, Turkey, event, Rose defeated Tiger Woods.

In the finals, he beat Lee Westwood.

"I definitely would like to sorta ride the wave of momentum and confidence, I guess," Rose said Monday, amid preparations for the start of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship on Wednesday. "There were a couple matches in Turkey that I did - I pulled off a shot when I had to.

"You can't always call that on demand. It's always a little bit of fortune to hit the right shot at the right time."

It takes more than luck to beat Mickelson, Woods and Westwood in the same month.

Once the low amateur at the 1998 British Open, Rose has won four American events, most recently the WGC-Cadillac Champi"The experience I've gained the last six months match play-wise will help me this week," he said.

Rose admitted he's never played "particularly well" at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain. Last year, he lost in the first round for the second time in three years. In 2011, he won one match.

Rose lost in the round of eight in 2007, the event's first year in the desert, but has accumulated only a 5-7 record overall.

As a No. 2 seed in the Ben Hogan Bracket, Rose will play No. 15 K.J. Choi, who he called "a great player" bound to give him "a tough game," despite his fall successes.

"Certainly, the lesson I learned there is to be patient, even if you get down in a match," he said. "Keep doing your thing and limit the mistakes and just believe that you can turn it around still.

"I think the mistake other guys may make is when you get behind in a match you may start to push a little too much, and that's when you start to give away cheap holes. And that's what you can't afford to do at this level."

Rose might be considered one of the favorites to win the event, but that title means little: last year, a lower-seeded player won 15 matches.

"If Rory McIlroy gets beat early, that's an upset," said Jim Furyk, a No. 7 seed in the Bobby Jones Bracket. "It's not like the No. 64 seed beating the No. 1 seed at the NCAA tournament; the talent level and the ability there is drastic.

"Here, the No. 64 player in the world is someone that's won all over the world, that's played very well. It's not much to ask to get a victory."

Rose said the event was "a bit of a pinch of salt" for the rest of his season, which starts in America this week. Golfers can play well and lose, or poorly and win.

Some have a knack for match play success, Rose said, listing past champs Ian Poulter, Geoff Ogilvy and Henrik Stenson.

"Confidence, and having sort of a nous to play match play," He said. "I think there's definitely some tricks to the trade …

"It comes down to making putts at the right time. There's always a big putt in match play."

That, Rose can do.

"I'm really, really, really happy with my putting," he said. "Putting comes and goes, I guess, a little bit, and some weeks you just get your feel perfectly.

"But my understanding of what I'm trying to achieve in my putting is rock solid right now.

"There's no more searching, and that's a really nice feeling, to go to the putting green."

Contact reporter Patrick Finley at pfinley@azstarnet.com or 573-4145. On Twitter @PatrickFinley.

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