By PAUL DOYLE, firstname.lastname@example.org
7:06 AM EDT, June 28, 2010
As Justin Rose approached the clubhouse after completing his round at TPC River Highlands on Sunday, he smiled while cradling his 16-month-old son.
He didn't look like a guy tormented by a final-round meltdown.
"You've got to put things in perspective," Rose said after shooting a 5-over-par 75.
So with a cute, bouncy diversion named Leo in his arms, Rose wasn't wallowing in his failure to hold a three-shot lead. After cruising through three rounds at the Travelers Championship, Rose controlled his own destiny when he teed off for Round 4.
He shot 1-over 36 on the front nine, but then everything unraveled on the back. Rose bogeyed the par-4 10th and par-4 12th before a birdie on No. 13 seemed to get him back on track.
"The tournament is really still right there with a couple holes left to play," Rose said.
Bubba Watson, Corey Pavin and Scott Verplank passed him, then Rose fell out of contention on two holes. When he bogeyed the par-3 16th after a double bogey at No. 15, it was over.
As he walked off the 18th green, he dropped his putter while the gallery was cheering. Rose playfully acknowledged the crowd while he picked up his club, shrugging and smiling.
"It's hard to play golf when you feel like you're going to miss every putt from two feet," Rose said. "I was just that uncomfortable on the greens all day."
Coming off a 2-under 68 Saturday, Rose sensed his game slipping. So he wasn't surprised when his short game vanished Sunday.
"I think it was a carryover," Rose said. "I didn't putt well [Saturday], but got away with it. Played terribly today, didn't get away with it. ... It was obviously mine to lose. I could have shot 1 over par today and I could have won the golf tournament. It's disappointing. It wasn't overly difficult today. But no matter what, you've still got to get the ball in the hole. No matter how well you play, if you're not knocking in those putts, man, it's hard to get the job done."
Rose, who turns 30 next month, earned his first PGA Tour victory June 7 at the Memorial. That was his most recent tournament before the Travelers, so he was on a roll — which he knew would eventually end.
"You've got to accept the rough with the smooth," said Rose, who splits his time between Orlando and his native London. "I played seven great rounds in a row. You got to accept there is one coming. Unfortunately for me, it was on Sunday this week. I started off in a good frame of mind, I started off comfortable. But the more I played out there, the more uncomfortable I got on the greens. It just wore me out."
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