World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational - Preview Day 2 (Getty Images)
Justin Rose and Darren Clarke head to the US PGA Championship in good heart despite finishing well behind eventual winner Tiger Woods at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
Rose shot a one under par 69 on the final day at Firestone Country Club, his third below par round of the week but still not enough to get in the red figures following an opening 75.
The 69, secured with two birdies over the last three holes, left the English Ryder Cup player at over for the week but with confidence restored heading to Hazeltine National in Chaska, Minnesota, for the final Major of the year.
“Although perhaps I didn’t play as well this week as I did at The Open or the AT&T at Congressional (in early July) but I think this has been the perfect warm up for me,” Rose said.
“I had two weeks off and this is the first week back and sometimes there is a bit of rustiness in your game and you have to get your thinking going again. But all in all, I am encouraged for next week. I played Hazeltine in 2002 and did fairly well as a young kid so I am looking forward to going back.
“I don’t remember much about it and we’ll see what’s in store for us when I get there next week but I take a lot of confidence there from three rounds in the 60s here.”
Northern Ireland's Clarke finished one stroke ahead of Rose at level par on a course where he won the WGC-Bridgestone in 2003.
Clarke enjoyed a week of consistency and gradual improvement with rounds of 71, 70, 70 and a closing 69 and he said he was looking forward to this week's Major at Hazeltine, courtesy of an invitation from the US PGA.
“There is a lot of encouragement in there for me,” Clarke said of his week's work. “I didn’t play my absolute best out there, but I did not play bad. I left some shots out there but I have had two weeks off where I didn’t do much apart from lie on a beach.
“Sometimes you need that just to recharge the batteries but it means when you do come back that you find time to get your eye in and your scoring eye in if you know what I mean. So this hasn’t been bad. Although it is not quite where I want it to be, I am really looking forward to going to Hazeltine.
“The guys at the PGA of America have been very kind in giving me an invite to play in the tournament and the fact I have a little bit of form going to it means I am very much looking forward to it.”