Justin Rose did what he felt was required to don a green jacket Sunday, but this was not a normal year at the Masters Tournament.
Rose shot 2-under-par 70 to finish 14-under at Augusta National Golf Club, his best four-round total at the Masters by nine shots in 10 career tournaments.
“Normally, that gets it done,” Rose said. “I haven’t put four good rounds together, and that’s what I managed to do this year.”
He accomplished the task of performing well over four days, shooting two rounds of 67 and two rounds of 70. He still finished four shots back in a tie for second behind champion Jordan Spieth, the 21-year-old, wire-to-wire winner who never faltered under pressure.
“He’s been in contention every single round it feels like since I can remember,” said Rose, 34. “Definitely the last four tournaments he’s played, and he’s just so comfortable with the lead. Awesome composure. Every time I thought maybe there was a chink in the armor, he’d come out and hole an eight-foot putt.”
Rose challenged Spieth in the final pairing with consecutive birdies on the first two holes to get within three shots. Bogeys on Nos. 6 and 9, and failing to birdie No. 8, hurt the Englishman’s chances of catching a calm Spieth.
Rose chipped to seven feet for birdie on the eighth hole but missed, while Spieth birdied for a four-shot lead. A three-putt bogey on the ninth sent Rose reeling, and despite three consecutive birdies between Nos. 13 and 15, Rose never got closer than four strokes on the second nine.
“I hadn’t got off to particularly good starts on Friday and Saturday,” Rose said. “I felt like I was playing well. Really, the key moments for me were not getting it up and down from the right side of No. 8 and three-putting No. 9.”
Rose’s 14-under bested every winning total dating to 2011, and it was the highest finish of his Masters career. It was also his third top-10 finish in a decade worth of appearances.
Despite not getting the job done, Rose said he leaves Augusta with good vibes.
“Playing in the final group in a major championship, especially the Masters, is something that you’re either ready for or you’re not,” Rose said. “I was really happy with the way I felt today on the golf course, how composed I was and how in control of my emotions I was.”