(Reuters) – World number one Justin Rose described his victory as a “win-and-a-half” after carding a three-under-par 69 to beat Adam Scott by two shots at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego on Sunday.
The Englishman’s latest victory was his 10th on the PGA Tour, matching the tally of Spaniard Sergio Garcia and giving him one more than Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros.
Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy (14) is the only European player with more wins on the Tour since 1945.
“Double-digits sounds really cool. Winning is never easy,” Rose told Golf Channel.
“When you’ve beat a class field on a great venue, that satisfies you as a player. It’s a win-and-a-half mentally.”
Rose teed off with a three-shot lead but found himself just one clear after three early bogeys.
“The first six holes anything that could go wrong did go wrong,” Rose said.
“In the past I might have got a little rattled, a little shaken by that start but I didn’t today.
“Had a bit of a gut-check time on the seventh hole but I’d been playing so well all week. Went about my business and it really started to turn around.”
Rose re-established a buffer with three birdies in four holes, and held off a late rally by Australian Scott, who finished with four straight birdies for a 68.
It could have been a special back nine for Scott, who failed to convert great birdie chances on 11, 12 and 13.
“I might have been able to make it interesting at the end,” said Scott, who also missed a tiny putt from inside two feet at the fifth.
Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama (67) and American Talor Gooch (68) tied for third, five strokes behind Rose.
Tiger Woods (67) tied for 20th at 10-under in his first start of the year.
“I wasn’t as sharp as I wanted to be (at start of the week) but each and every day I got a little better. Figured a few things out with the driver which was great,” Woods said.
Rose’s win came in his second tournament with new clubs after he switched equipment companies to join Japanese clubmaker Honma.
Changing can be a risky move for top players, but Rose seems to have adapted quickly.
“I’m really happy I challenged the status quo and changed everything up in the search trying to get better,” he said.
“I can’t believe how well I’ve driven the ball this week on a tough test. The off-season was short and sharp and I didn’t quite know exactly how I was going to come out.
“It’s awesome to play this well this week.”
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Peter Rutherford)