England's Justin Rose prevailed Sunday in a three-way playoff to win the 2007 Volvo Masters at Valderrama, in Spain, and in doing so captured the European PGA Tour's Order of Merit for the first time since turning pro nearly 10 years ago.
"This moment, I've been really hoping it would come all week long," Rose told reporters. "I've been in the hunt, in the mix all week long and this couldn't come quick enough. But obviously the only way you get here is by going shot-for-shot and hard work. And today was, again, I mean, a grind."
Rose is now the No. 1 ranked player on the European PGA Tour, and moved up to No. 7 in the world rankings. Hoisting the Harry Vardon Trophy for the first time, Rose finished ahead of South African Ernie Els and British Open Champion Padraig Harrington in the Order of Merit race.
It has been a long, and often frustrating, road for Rose, who burst on the scene at the age of 17 during at the British Open at Royal Birkdale in 1998, turned pro the day after the tournament ended, and then proceeded to miss 21 straight cuts.
His win at the Volvo Masters was also no easy feat.
Rose had the overnight lead heading into Sunday's final round at Valderrama, and had made it to 5-under-par by the end of the his front nine. But a double-bogey on the long par-4 11th kicked off a dismal back-nine, where he dropped four strokes amid worsening weather conditions and poor shotmaking.
Rose, Simon Dyson and Soren Kjeldsen all finished tied at 1-under-par for the tournament, and entered a sudden death playoff. The trio all made par fours on the first playoff hole, the par-4 18th.
Then, in high drama, Rose rolled in a 15-foot putt on the next extra hole to capture the championship.
Harrington finished just out of playoff contention, two strokes behind Rose.
"It is a relief," Rose told Reuters. "I don't think there is an easy way of doing it."
November 5, 2007
With stellar play on the back nine at Royal Birkdale, Padraig Harrington shot a 69 in the final round to earn a four-shot victory and become Europe's first back-to-back British Open champion in more than a century. He earned nearly $1.5 million and climbed to No. 3 in the world rankings. "I'm really thrilled with the way I felt today on the golf course," Harrington said. "I hit the ball as pure as I could and just felt really good."
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