Rose bags Order of Merit, Volvo Masters

Justin Rose made sure to clinch the European Order of Merit, then added a win at the Volvo Masters for good measure.

updated: November 07, 2007 10:04 IST
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Sotogrande, Spain:

Justin Rose made sure to clinch the European Order of Merit, then added a win at the Volvo Masters for good measure.

Rose secured the Order of Merit by reaching the sudden death playoff at Valderrama, where the Englishman rolled in a 12-foot putt at the second extra hole to also win the season-ending euro4 million ($6.08 million) tournament over Simon Dyson (70) and Soren Kjeldsen (67).

Rose rallied after blowing a four-shot lead with nine holes to play.

"On the 16th hole I actually looked like losing the Order of Merit as well as the tournament," Rose said.

"I saw Graeme McDowell had made an albatross. Padraig (Harrington) was maybe going to even par up in front of me, Soren was 2 under. It looked like it was very much in the wrong direction," he added.

But Rose quickly turned it around, shooting a 192-yard 7-iron to within 15 feet at the par-5 17th that allowed for a comfortable two-putt birdie.

"I'm not out there shaking like a leaf anymore. I'm out there calm, pretty collected," the 27-year-old Englishman said. "I feel like I'm in control."

By the time he was heading back out for the first playoff hole, Rose's name was already being engraved into the Harry Vardon trophy since the top-three finish meant he had overtaken Ernie Els to top the European Tour's money list.

"It's emotional. It was a hard day," Rose said. "It's been a long road to get here, but I feel great."

Rose overtook Els, who opted to play on the Asian Tour this weekend, and Harrington thanks to Valderrama's winning prize of euro666,660 (US$960,488).

He topped the money list with euro2,944,945 (US$4,276,062) after 12 tournaments, the lowest number played by any champion in the Tour's modern history.

"That's been the key for me, consistency," said Rose, who moved up to Number 7 in the world rankings and top of the Ryder Cup points list for Europe with his second victory of the year.

"That's why the win was so valuable today, I've had a lot of top-10 finishes and three seconds and I think that's what was missing from the year, a win."

Rose started the final round with a four-stroke lead over Dyson and Harrington but shot a 3-over 74 to finish tied with an overall score of 1-under 283.

Harrington, who won last year's Order of Merit title after finishing in a three-way tie for second at Valderrama, couldn't hole birdie putts at the 17th and 18th that would have pushed him into the playoff. The British Open champion shot 1-over 72 to finish two shots back in a tie for fourth with McDowell (68).

"I'm disappointed, I didn't putt well today," Harrington said. "I tried to hole that putt at Number18 and put a little pressure on him."

Rose had a four-shot lead after sinking a birdie at No. 9, and was soon six ahead of Harrington.

But Rose's round began to unravel at the 11th. A double-bogey 7 was followed by poor pitch shots at Numbers 13 and 14, requiring tough par-saving putts that he couldn't sink.

McDowell holed his second shot at Number 17 for the albatross-2, while Kjeldsen birdied. Both players then bogeyed Number 18.

Kjeldson, who had three birdies in his first five holes for the day's lowest score, watched from the clubhouse as Rose and Dyson missed par putts to send it to a playoff.

England's Ian Poulter beat Sergio Garcia of Spain in 2004, the last time the tournament went to a playoff.

Rose is the first Englishman to take the season-ending money title since Lee Westwood did in 2000. The trophy has been awarded annually since 1971.

Els, who took the Order of Merit in 2003 and 2004, finished with euro2,496,237 (US$3,624,407) while Harrington was third with euro2,463,742 (US$3,577,355).

Harrington, who led Rose by euro657 (US$948) coming in, had cut the Englishman's advantage to three strokes by making a 10-feet birdie putt at the par-4 first hole.

But Rose answered on the par-5 fourth, hitting his 165-yard pitch shot to within 11 feet and then sinking the birdie putt.

His lead was extended to five shots moments later when Harrington, playing one group ahead, couldn't salvage his 22-footer for par.