Justin Rose believes he's ready for a tilt at the Open Championship after clinching his sixth US PGA Tour title at the weekend.
The Fleet-based golfer claimed his first Tour victory since winning last year’s US Open after edging out unheralded American Shawn Stefani in a play-off to be crowned the Quicken Loans National champion, on Sunday.
Rose fired a final round of 70 at Congressional before clinching victory at the first extra play-off hole, the 18th, after Stefani found water in regulation play.
Victory moves the North Hants life-member up two places to eighth in the world rankings, while he sits 12th in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings.
But he also believes he is ready to challenge for a second Major title when the Open Championship comes to the Royal Liverpool in a fortnight's time.
“It’s a huge boost confidence-wise because I’ve been in semi-contention this year,” Rose said. “I haven’t really been playing with a lead all year.
“To do it and get it done and make key putts, that’s huge for my psyche going into the Open.
“It also gives me a nice boost for the rest of the year. A nice boost in the FedEx Cup as the play-offs are almost upon us, a nice boost in Ryder Cup points, probably taking that off my mind.
“It’s a really nice time of year to have a victory and allows me to focus on exciting challenges now ahead.”
Rose, however, would have won at Congressional outright had he not bogeyed the final hole.
Trailing the overnight leader, Patrick Reed, by three shots at the start of the final round, Rose led by one going down the last, only to then drive into the trees and hit his second into the greenside pond.
After a drop, Rose found the putting surface, then holed a 15ft putt for bogey to go into the play-off against Stefani, the world ranked 246, who was seeking his first PGA Tour win.
The US Open champion, however, regained his composure as Stefani managed only a double-bogey six after finding the water, allowing Rose to putt out for victory with a solid par.
After Rory McIlroy’s eight-shot winning margin at the same course in 2011, Rose admitted the course had played much harder this time. “I think Congressional wanted its reputation back,” he said. “It tested all of us.
"It’s great to win on a course like this because you can't luck into it.
“I had to rely on different parts of my game all week. I was really pleased to see the PGA Tour set it up tough. It was fair but you had to play good strategic golf.
“It hasn’t been lost on me that I haven’t won for a year. It's a huge boost confidence-wise for sure going into The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool in just two weeks from now.”
Rose is now preparing to head back to British soil to compete in The Open precursor event, the Scottish Open, at Royal Aberdeen next week.