Golf

Rose has 'unfinished business' at Royal Birkdale

After Justin Rose finished fourth in the British Open at Royal Birkdale as a 17-year-old amateur in 1998, it seemed inevitable that he would soon go on to win the Claret Jug.

But he returns to the Southport links for this week's championship having never subsequently managed to match that performance as a professional.

It is little wonder that Rose, now 36, spoke of "unfinished business" yesterday as he prepared for tomorrow's first round, where he will go out in a group with former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa and Justin Thomas.

"It surprises me after all these years that is still the best finish," he said of his performance in miserable weather in 1998, when Mark O'Meara eventually won the title in a play-off against Brian Watts.

Rose equalled the record low score for an amateur at The Open with a second-round 66, and there was a huge roar when he holed a pitch from the rough at the 18th on the Sunday for a birdie to secure a tie for fourth place.

"I don't want to say that if I don't win this, it's going to be a huge sort of hole in my career, but it was the one tournament that even before I finished fourth here as an amateur, I got to final qualifying at the age of 14 and created a bit of a story then.

"It's definitely been a championship that I've had great moments in. And to win it would kind of close the book in a way on my Open Championship story."

Rose, who won the US Open in 2013, has had mixed results since winning Olympic gold in Rio last year. He was runner-up to Sergio Garcia at the US Masters in April but missed the cut at the recent US Open. - AFP