Rose enjoying winners' circle

Justin Rose expects to go from strength to strength after securing his first European Tour victory in four years.

Justin Rose expects to go from strength to strength after securing his first European Tour victory in four years.

The 26-year-old Briton posted a two-shot win at the MasterCard Australian Masters, staged at Huntingdale in the state of Victoria.

And after a long barren spell, the former teenage sensation admitted it was a weight off his shoulders to see his name at the top of a leaderboard.

“This is great for my self belief,” said Rose. “I can’t keep knocking at the door and not quite getting over the line.

“So I felt a little bit of added pressure that if I hadn’t got over the line it would have been a positive week, but people would have been looking at it from a slightly different standpoint, like: ‘Why aren’t you winning?’.

“I knew that was the case and that’s why I’m delighted to have got the job done.”

Rose stumbled to victory. He could only card a final round of one-over-par 73 to be 12 under overall.

He had to hold off a challenge from a throng of Australians, including amateur Aaron Pike, and a triple-bogey eight at the seventh hole almost derailed his title bid.

However the world number 69, now a regular on the US PGA Tour, showed grit to bounce back and don the gold jacket awarded to the winner of the event.

“It was a rollercoaster. I was really pleased though that my emotions didn’t rollercoaster,” said Rose.

Pike provided the day’s highlight by holing a bunker shot for eagle on the 14th – which Rose eagled in the third round – the stroke jumping the 21-year-old into a share of the lead at the time at 11-under.

But Rose, playing in the final group and following Pike, responded with a birdie at the 555-metre hole, and after giving a shot back at the 15th, another birdie at 16 set up the win.

Richard Green, the 2004 champion, carded a final-round 69 to finish at 10 under, equal second with Greg Chalmers who matched Rose’s score of 73.

Rose held his nerve over the closing holes, which had caused him plenty of trouble earlier in the tournament.

He said: “I realised that everyone was making bogeys. Then I saw that Richard Green had finished at 10 under.

“The last three holes had been bad for me all week. I bogeyed all three of them on Thursday and bogeyed one of them on Friday and Saturday.

“I had really played the last three holes terribly. To play the last three in one under, I guess that is where I won the tournament.”

Green was hopeful he could win the tournament when he reached the clubhouse, but said: “All credit to Justin for hanging on.”

Ryder Cup star Paul Casey double-bogeyed the first on his way to a final-round 77 – 10 strokes worse than his third-round score – and finished tied for 17th.

Robert Allenby had a disappointing end to his title defence by making a double-bogey on the 18th in a round of 76 – even-par for the championship and tied 32nd.

Pre-tournament favourite Stuart Appleby also carded a 76 to finish four over par – sharing 52nd place.

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