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Rose sets sights on Masters

A week after Rory McIlroy went to world number one by capturing the Honda Classic, Justin Rose leapt from 22nd to seventh with his one-stroke victory over the left handed Bubba Watson at the Cadillac Championship - the second of this season's world championships.

It was the 31-year-old's fourth success on the PGA Tour, putting him alongside Tony Jacklin and Luke Donald with Sir Nick Faldo being the only English player remaining ahead of him with nine victories. Six of Faldo’s nine victories were majors and just like Donald they are now a goal for Rose.

If there is one favourite for the Masters in three weeks' time, it has to be Rory McIlroy - especially with Tiger Woods recently suffering injury.

The 22-year-old from Northern Ireland, eight shots adrift teeing off and joint eighth, came through to third with a 67 - and incredibly has finished outside the top five only once since last August. McIlroy was just one behind at one point, but in the end it was long hitting Watson who gave Rose most cause for concern after his bogey on the final hole had left him 16 under par.

The left-handed American, twice in water early on threw away a three-stroke overnight lead. He still managed to approach the last hole one behind and hit a spectacular shot from the rough to nine feet on one of golf's hardest holes.

"It had me sweating," said Rose, who mentally had to prepare for a play-off until Watson missed his birdie attempt.

The victory was worth over £875,000 and put Adidas Golf’s Rose on course for a Ryder Cup return after being left out by Colin Montgomerie in 2010 despite two wins in the United States that summer.

Before any thought of a Ryder Cup return Rose must focus on Augusta. He was only one behind with two to play in 2007, but double-bogeyed the tricky 17th and to finish 5th.

His best performance in a major Championship remains his fourth place finish as a 17-year-old amateur at the 1998 Open Championship - a performance that was followed by 21 successive missed cuts at the start of his professional career.

"There's going to be a lot of expectation on Rory and on Tiger as there always is," said Rose, who did not know about the former world number one's Achilles tendon injuries until after the tournament.

"Hopefully he's holding himself back for the Masters and didn't want to do any more damage. After this win I suppose I'm now in the mix of players to talk about, but it's all part of being a pro.

"I don't think it will change the way I'm going to approach anything."

After two days of astonishing low scoring, Rose won with a two-under-par 70, commenting: "It turned out to be a battle rather than a birdie fest, but 70 is a great round now in relative terms."

As with his third-round 65, Oakley’s McIlroy had two bogeys in the last five holes after threatening something really special.

But he said: "It's my fifth start of the season and my fifth top five. It's been another good week. It feels like every time I tee it up I have a chance to win."

The new world number one now has three weeks off before the opening major of the season - the one where last year he led by four with a round to go and blew up with an 80.

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