Justin Rose makes record-equalling six straight birdies at TPC Sawgrass
By Keith Jackson at TPC Sawgrass
Last Updated: 14/05/18 12:37am
Justin Rose will leave TPC Sawgrass feeling positive for a busy summer ahead after he equalled a tournament record in the final round of The Players Championship.
Rose, like the majority of the field, was playing for pride on the final day as he began his round 16 shots adrift of runaway leader Webb Simpson, but he signed off on a high-note with a six-under 66.
The Englishman also became only the ninth player in tournament history to card six consecutive birdies, two days after Simpson was the eighth to achieve the feat.
Rose kick-started his round at the ninth and converted from six feet at the 14th to equal the mark, and he added another at 16 before he was unable to get up and down from the fringe at the last as he closed on nine under par.
"I really enjoyed the round, it was nice to chase a low score out there today," said Rose. "Obviously it wasn't happening really through eight holes but then I made six on the spin, which is fun.
"I really felt I like I could maybe birdie my way to the house and set something decent for the leaders to look at at least. But it was a disappointing finish. I hit it close at 17, wasn't able to make the putt, and then bogeyed 18 from the middle of the fairway.
"But I think today there were some more positives in my game to take forward into the coming weeks and all in all it was nice to finish strong.
Rose's ball-striking was by far his best of the week as he gave himself five putts for eagle, but he added: "I didn't make a putt like longer than six feet, that's what it felt like. I did it the hard way in a sense, but it showed the quality of my long game today was much, much better.
"I think I've gone from horrendous yesterday to awesome today, so I don't quite know which side of the bed is the wrong side or right side tomorrow!
"I changed my thought a little bit today with my swing. I tried to focus a little bit more on the face, really just trying to control the face of the club and I felt like that really helped me to hit more shots rather than thinking more of my body.
"I'm always a guy who likes to have a thought. When I try to go blank and just hit a shot it never quite works out as well for me. So, yeah, it clicked into a nice roll today."
But the honour of leading Englishman went to Tommy Fleetwood, whose birdie at the last was his sixth of the day and capped a 68 which lifted him into a tie for seventh on 12 under par.
Fleetwood, making only his second appearance at Sawgrass, finished a shot ahead of playing partner and fellow Englishman Ian Poulter, with last year's runner-up closing with a 69 to earn a tie for 11th with the likes of Tiger Woods.