Day 4: Quicken Loans National Champion Justin Rose
One extra hole of golf, a little drama in the water around the last green, a trophy on a bed of roses, young children rushing into their father’s grasp who just became the double-winner of the Quicken Loans National, Justin Rose. It all happened right there before us on the par four 18th hole with the Congressional clubhouse as a backdrop.
Shawn Stefani and Justin Rose ended regulation play on Sunday tied at 4 under par and now faced a playoff on the dramatic 18th fairway. First, they had to wait until Patrick Reed and Seung-Yul Hoh finished their round.
Reed was in the driver seat at the turn going onto the final backside. Golf karma dealt both players a cruel round and they walked to the 18th to a warm but distracted gallery of fans waiting on a playoff. Reed had by now lost 5 strokes and his shot at the QLN trophy after being on top of the leaderboard for three days. He did this all on the back nine.
It didn’t take long for the playoff to begin – or end for that matter. It was all in the second shot. Shawn Stefani missed the fairway and took a chance coming out of the left rough to punch it up onto the green. Instead Stefani ended up finding the water that bunkers the 18th green. With Stefani’s dip into the drink, the game, the trophy and the championship was all there up front for Rose to take.
Rose hit a low punch 4-iron about 215 yards that hooked into the green landing safely dry and within sight of the flag. He was laying two on the green. Now all Rose had to do, as my dad would say is, “putt it into the magic circle” meaning just get the ball close to the hole – and make par with any easy putt.
Meanwhile, Stefani had placed his ball on the slope off the green. He laid three there and had to chip it in to push and extend the playoff. He only got close. So now all Rose had to do is putt it into that “magic circle” and make par, which he did after Stefani, holed out.
While all this played out to a national TV audience the Tiger Woods Foundation and the PGA were quickly arranging the trophy ceremony to happen right there on the 18th green. Sightlines are such that if you get it right you get the icon clubhouse in the background.
I was slow on the draw for a good camera angle and never got that perfect shot of the award ceremony. But I did get the Rose children celebrating their dad the double-winner of Quicken Loans National.
Enjoy these views.