Rose could make history with Open win

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iol spt pic Justin Rose Getty Images Justin Rose hits his tee shot on the 18th hole during the final round of the 2014 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club. Photo: Mike Ehrmann

Aberdeen - When South African-born Justin Rose won the Scottish Open on Sunday at Royal Aberdeen, no one appeared to notice that he had he put himself on the cusp of golf history.

He can now join Gary Player in winning three tournaments in a row, including a Major, when he tees up at the British Open this week, something the veteran South African achieved in 1978 and, thus far, remains unmatched.

Player set his historic mark when he won tournaments either side of The Masters in 1978, in which he surged from seven shots behind the leaders to win his ninth and last Major.

Last year, Phil Mickelson famously won the Scottish and British Open in consecutive weeks.

Rose, who moved to the UK with his parents when he was five, won his first major, the US Open, in 2012.

The South African challenge in this weeks' 143rd British Open is a muted one with its top players generally off the boil.

There was an unhappy omen when the newcomer Justin Walters was disqualified in the first round of the Scottish Open last week, signing for a four instead of a five on the 16th hole.

This year, the South African flag is borne by a worthy team without a great deal of form. They are, alphabetically, which is as good an indicator as any of their prospects, George Coetzee, Ernie Els, Branden Grace, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Richard Sterne.

There is also Zimbabwe's Brendon de Jonge who, after its platinum mines is one of the homeland's largest forex earners.

Since turning pro in 2003, De Jonge, whom one would happily employ as a security guard, has earned well over R100 million from golf winnings alone, not to mention various sponsorship deals and other perks.

No sport can match golf as a great leveller. Just last week in the Scottish Open, Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy shot a record-setting 64 in the first round. It all came tumbling down in round two though when he signed for a 78, a horrendous 14-shot collapse. Known for his Friday collapses, he rallied on day three and four with rounds of 68 and 67 to tie for 14th place.

When Australia's Adam Scott opened the door for Els to snatch The Claret Jug at Lytham St Anne's in 2012, he gave The Big Easy a five-year exemption to the Majors.

Els has nothing left to prove. He can enjoy himself. He is healthy, knows links golf backwards, his short game is sharp and his length and accuracy remain reliable. It would not be a surprise if he turns out to be the most dangerous of the South Africans. Roll on Thursday.

Sapa


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