Farmer’s Insurance Open
Farmer’s Insurance Open
Farmers Insurance Open
San Diego, California
Winner: Justin Rose
The Farmers Insurance Open might have been the first PGA Tour tournament to start the final round on the seventh hole. That requires some explaining. Justin Rose, ranked No. 1 in the world, led by three going into the final round, but three bogeys and one birdie in the first five holes had him muttering. Then he missed a five-foot birdie putt at No. 6. He’d had enough.
He scratched a line at No. 6 on his scorecard. “All right,” he said, “we build the round from this moment on.” He would start the final round at No. 7. “You’re No. 1 for a reason,” Rose told himself. “Just start playing like it, please.” And from the seventh on he had five birdies and no bogeys on the testing Torrey Pines South Course, scoring his 10th win, the most by any English player on the PGA Tour.
“There were times where I’ve had decent-sized leads and you start to throw it away and you panic,” Rose said. “I just knew I couldn’t do that today. I stayed calm, I stayed with it.”
Rose trailed Jon Rahm by one after an opening 63 on Torrey Pines North, then went to the tougher and more famous Torrey South and reeled off 66-69-69 for a 21-under 267, the lowest in the event in 20 years. Rose won by two over Adam Scott, who kept the pressure on but couldn’t quite close the gap. “As [well] as I’m playing,” Scott said, “I feel like I’m a long way behind … By the time I got it sorted out, it was a bit too late.” Scott, trailing by three at the start of the final round, had a bogey-birdie exchange for a front-nine par and then a rush of four straight birdies from the 15th coming in for a 68–269.
The critical moment for Rose came at the start of the final round with the three quick bogeys, after which he drew the line at No. 6. An old trick he would play on himself, he explained.
“Sometimes I’ll play match play against the golf course,” he said. “Today I was three-down to the course … it distracts you from the leaderboard and keeps you positive. You’re playing more aggressive golf to try and make some shots back rather than limit the damage. Just reframes everything.”
Tiger Woods was making his 2019 debut at the Farmers, on a course where he had won eight times. It was his first competition in almost two months. He shot 70-70-71-67–278, 10 under, to tie for 20th. Never in contention, he was fighting to finish in double figures under par and he did it with a flourish. He was eight under coming to his 17th, the par-three No. 8. He holed a 10-foot putt for birdie. At the par-five ninth (his 18th) he two-putted from 37 feet. The birdie-birdie finish got him in just under the wire at 10 under. “Got to have these little goals when I’m not in contention,” he said.“Still something positive to end the week on.”