Justin Rose beats Shawn Stefani to win the Quicken Loans National
The Briton's victory at Congressional is his first since winning the 2013 U.S. Open
Despite playoff loss, world No. 246 Stefani secures qualification for the British Open
The British Open will take place at Hoylake and will get under way on July 17
With the British Open just around the corner, Justin Rose is hitting form at exactly the right time.
The world No. 8 beat unheralded American Shawn Stefani in a playoff to clinch the Quicken Loans National and win his first title since lifting the U.S. Open in June 2013.
Rose will now head into a major on home soil as one of the favorites, boosted by the first playoff win of his PGA Tour career.
“It’s a huge boost confidence-wise, yeah, for sure, because I’ve been semi-in contention this year,” Rose told the PGA Tour’s website after carding a one-under par final round of 70 on Sunday.
The 33-year-old led by one heading down the last having reeled in overnight leader Patrick Reed, but a wayward drive led to Rose finding the water on the 18th as he let world No. 246 Stefani back in.
Despite losing the playoff on the first extra hole, Stefani can take solace in the knowledge that he has booked his place at the British Open, which starts at Hoylake on July 17.
The last time golf’s oldest major was at Hoylake was in 2006, when Tiger Woods lifted the Claret Jug while Rose was enduring a miserable run of form which saw him fail to qualify for seven consecutive majors.
“I just remember (the course) being burnt out, really warm, people eating ice cream and Tiger winning,” joked Rose.
With the year’s third major on the horizon, Rose was pleased to have come through such a thorough examination at Congressional, host of the 2011 U.S. Open won by Rory McIlroy.
“I like this type of test,” he said. “This week you’re going to miss greens; you’re going to be challenged; you’re going to have to grind and you’re going to have to do everything at some point this week, and that’s the type of golf I like, that tests all your skill sets.
“That’s normally what major championships do.”