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  Saturday, 21 July, 2001, 22:06 GMT 23:06 UK
Rose has a place in Open history
Justin Rose
Rose is popular with the crowd at Royal Lytham
By BBC Sport Online's Stuart Roach at Royal Lytham

Whatever happens to Justin Rose in future Open Championships, he will always have his place in the history of the tournament.

Three years ago, at Royal Birkdale, Rose holed his approach shot to the 18th to finish tied fourth, a shot behind Tiger Woods and two behind Brian Watts and eventual winner Mark O'Meara.

The spontaneous combustion of the Birkdale crowd announced Rose's arrival on golf's big stage - and the crowds have not stopped cheering him since.


Dixon has got nothing to lose - he just has to enjoy himself
Justin Rose
His third round here at Lytham should have secured relative anonymity for the 20-year-old, such was its mediocrity.

Instead, he was cheered and applauded every step of the way as he battled to a round of 74, which left him two over for the tournament.

"It means a lot to me but it can be frustrating on a day like today when I just can't get things going," Rose admitted.

"The crowd are obviously wanting me to play well and that makes it even more frustrating in some ways, but their support is great and hopefully I can get going tomorrow."

If he does, then Rose could secure upwards of 20,000 for what has been a relatively inauspicious championship, particularly by his own standards.

At Birkdale, he didn't make 20 pence.

As an amateur player, Rose's efforts did not allow him to pick up a penny in prize money and the only silver to cross his palm that weekend was the medal awarded to the weekend's leading amateur.

Rose's successor

No amateur in the two years that followed managed to survive the half-way cut, let alone challenge for the claret jug, but Taunton's Dave Dixon is already guaranteed the honour this year after becoming the only non-professional to survive the week.

Dixon does not appear to be the type of player who needs advice, but should he require any words of wisdom then he could not do better than turn to Rose.

"He has got nothing to lose. He just has to go out and enjoy his final round on Sunday, knowing he is going to win the silver medal," Rose offered.

"He just has to try and get high up on the leaderboard, which would be great and I wish him all the luck in the world.

Justin Rose in 1998
Rose shot to fame at Royal Birkdale in 1998
"In terms of turning pro, there is a big gap between the amateur game and professional, so I would say don't expect too much.

"Just keep improving your game and you will get there."

Rose turned professional the day after his Birkdale heroics, giving rise to suggestions that he only made the jump because of his Open experience.

The truth is that the teenager had already announced his intentions to turn pro. Birkdale simply ensured the queue of potential sponsors and management companies was longer than he would have expected.

He needed all the corporate invitations he could get in the first 18 months of his career as he missed the cut in every one of his first 21 tournaments as a professional.

Yet that was all part of the learning process and, in recent months, a maturing Rose has served notice that he has the game to compete with the very best.


The Birkdale putter is going in the bin
Justin Rose
A naturally-gifted ball striker, Rose's biggest problem has been with the putter.

In hope, perhaps desperation, Rose returned to using the putter which served him so well at Birkdale and an opening round 69 on Thursday suggested that had done the trick.

Friday and, in particular, Saturday proved otherwise and a disgruntled Rose sighed: "The Birkdale putter is going in the bin tonight.

"I have worked hard on my putting this week and the first day I putted really well.

"The last two days, I haven't putted well at all. I missed some short ones going out and that set the tone a little bit for me, but it just wasn't my day."

His day, surely, will come and Rose, who only turns 21 next week, has already marked his name indelibly in The Open history books.

"The Open is by far the most special golf tournament for me.

"Even taking away what happened at Birkdale, for me just being a British player means it is the biggest tournament you can ever play in.

"That alone makes it a special tournament but I had a pretty special week, so it is always going to be my biggest event."

Few will forget Rose's golden moment at Birkdale, but it seems that Rose already has.

"I don't even remember it to be honest. I went a bit fuzzy.

"I holed the shot, the crowd went bananas and I honestly don't remember what my thoughts were."


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