FLEET-based golfer Justin Rose won the hearts of the golfing world once again on the way to a creditable 22nd place in The Open at Murifield.

Rose wowed the thousands of on-lookers on the rain-drenched links course, while seeing off the challenge of World number one Tiger Woods and several other superstars in a high-quality field.

In the end, his putter let him down slightly when an extremely popular victory looked to be on the cards. But his one-under-par total of 283 still earned him a cool £32,000 and moved up to eighth place in the Volvo Order of Merit.

South African Ernie Els eventually won the 131st Open Championship after a four way, four-hole play-off with Australia's Steve Elkington and Stuart Appleby and the Frenchman Thomas Levet.

Els was then taken to the 18th hole sudden death play-off where he made par to Levet's bogey to claim his first Open.

Rose, after leading early in his first round on Thursday, had a mixed tournament despite still being in contention after his epic effort in his third round where he carded a 68 to go into the final round just three shots of the lead. Paired with world number one Tiger Woods, Rose showed his growing stature by outshining Woods in his opening round, finishing on three under par — one shot off the lead.

However, his second round was a different matter. After dropping a shot at the first, Rose missed the green at the par-three fourth and two putted to finish with a double bogey which sent his back to level par.

He eventually finished with a 75 and it was only down to some good saves for par on the back nine that he was able to make the cut, which was at two-over-par. Obviously I was very disappointed not to follow up my excellent first round, particularly as I was hitting the ball so well on the range before I went out," said Rose.

"However, that is the way golf goes sometimes and you just have to take the rough with the smooth."

If Rose was to suffer some of the rough in his second round, then he certainly got some of the smooth in his third round on Saturday.

Teeing off early he got the best of the conditions as he hit a 68 which put him back up to two under par.

With Saturday's conditions worsening, Rose then sat back and watched as the rest of the field struggled against the hazardous winds and rain.

Hopefuls Colin Montgomerie and remarkably Woods himself, hit rounds of 84 and 81 respectively to dash any hopes they had of winning the coveted Claret Jug.

Rose said: "Being a golfer, I actually watched mostly in stunned silence and with some sympathy."

By the end of the day's play, Rose would be tied for third place and would tee off in the penultimate group behind Els and Dane Soren Hansen.

However, his putting let him down on the final day as he failed to convert the birdie opportunities he had as he slipped to one under par with a round of 72.

"I played great from tee to green but just missed to many putts to mount a serious challenge," said Rose. "But it was a great experience playing in on of the final groups of a major and if a few putts had gone in you never know what might have happened."

With the Dutch Open this Thursday, Rose will be aiming to carry on his good run of form before the fourth and final major of the year, the US PGA next month.

And judging by glimpses of magic at the weekend and a glowing report from his new mate Tiger, whose to say that a Major victory wouldn't be on the cards.