Rose cruises to Scottish win in tune-up for Hoylake

Justin Rose put on a clinic Sunday in how to turn a 54-hole lead into a trip to the winner’s circle. Simple answer: shoot a 65. He came out on fire, birdieing four of his first six holes, and although the final result was only a two-shot Scottish Open victory, nobody ever really had a chance as he won for the second time in as many starts. This win, combined with his victory at the Quicken Loans National, has to move the 2013 U.S. Open champion up the favorites list as we turn our attention toward major No. 3.

Leaderboard: Justin Rose (-16),  Kristoffer Broberg (-14), Marc Warren (-11), Stephen Gallacher (-10), Matteo Manaserro (-10), Shane Lowry (-10), Tyrell Hatton (-10) Notables: Rickie Fowler (-9), Phil Mickelson (-8), Rory McIlroy (-7)

What it means: Of the four majors, the Open Championship seems to have Rose’s number. His best finish (T-4) came in his first appearance, as a 17-year-old amateur. However, his Scottish Open win this week immediately vaults him into the coversation of serious contenders at Hoylake. He also has recent history on his side, as Phil Mickelson pulled off the improbable Scottish-British double dip just last year.

Round of the day: While Rose never let anyone get too close, Stephen Gallacher’s 8-under 63 could have gotten him into contention had some of the leaders started to slip. Playing in front of a home crowd, the Scot’s course record consisted of nine birdies, going out in 33 and firing a 30 on the inward nine. Good enough for a T-4 finish. His only blemish was a bogey on the par-3 third. Chile’s Felipe Aguilar also shot a 63 to share the course record with Gallacher. He finished T-24. The old course record was 64, set by Rory McIlroy on Thursday.

Best of the rest: Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler’s matching 6-under 65s should give the American fan favorites some confidence going into next week’s Open Championship. Fowler seems to be peaking just in time for the year’s third major, a strategy he has been able time well this season, parlaying a solo sixth at the Shell Houston Open into a T-5 result at Augusta National and then finishing T-2 at the U.S. Open after a tie for 13th the week before at the FedEx St. Jude. Mickelson, who has looked lost at times this season, finally got his putter working on Sunday with eight birdies, which can’t hurt his chances defending his British Open title next week.

Biggest disappointment: Scotland’s own Marc Warren started the day tied with Rose atop the leaderboard, but didn’t stay there long. Warren, who closed with a 1-under 70, wasn’t awful on Sunday, he just simply couldn’t keep up. He finished third, five shots behind Rose.

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