• US Open, Round Four

Rose pays tribute to late dad after reaching 'pinnacle'

Alex Dimond at Merion June 17, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »

Justin Rose was elated to have achieved a lifelong dream after he claimed his maiden major championship with victory in the US Open at Merion on Sunday.

Rose revealed afterwards that he had begun to sense that the US Open might be his best chance to break into the winner's circle at a major - while he got emotional when asked to discuss the impact of his late father on his career.

Rose won by two shots from Phil Mickelson, shooting a final round of level-par 70 to finish one-over for the tournament.

"I've been striving my whole life really to win a major championship," Rose said. "I've holed a putt to win a major championship hundreds of thousands of times on the putting green at home. And preparing for this tournament, I dream about the moment of having a putt to win. I'm pretty happy it was a two-incher on the last!"

He added: "This is the pinnacle of the game, winning major championships, and to win the United States Open Championship is, I guess in a way, very fitting of how my game has been the last couple of years.

"Last year leading greens in regulation and this year sort of being No. 1, I think, in total driving coming into the week, I felt like this tournament really began to be on my radar as possibly the one major championship that would suit me the most.

"I had always felt good at Augusta, always dreamed about winning the Open Championship, but I thought this one actually might have been my best chance."

Justin Rose gestured for his father after completing his round at Merion © AP
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Rose made an impressive par at the 18th to secure his victory, emulating the feat of Ben Hogan back in 1950. After successfully executing up-and-down from the fringe after firing a beautiful long iron just through the green, all Rose had to do was wait before being confirmed as the champion.

On his final few swings, Rose noted: "I felt like I did myself justice and probably put enough of a good swing where Ben Hogan might have thought it was a decent shot too!

"But obviously it crawled through the back edge and the up-and-down, I guess, looked quite easy in the end. But the lie wasn't too bad. But I definitely didn't want to be chipping it. It was one of those lies that you could stub out quite easily. I got the three-wood on it and made the tap in kind of nice and easy."

The 32-year-old revealed that his father, Ken, had been on his mind for much of the final round. Rose's father died of cancer in 2002, and the golfer was pleased to be able to honour Ken's memory as he played out the finish - raising his hand to the sky after the final putt had dropped.

"I texted my mum late last night and I said, 'Let's do it for dad tomorrow'," Rose said. "And she just simply texted me back that would be fantastic.

"I did get hold of her after my round and we both were in floods of tears speaking to each other, and obviously especially with my dad being … she misses him immensely. I miss him immensely. And I thought today was just a fitting time in which I could honour him by looking up. Even if Phil had finished birdie, birdie, I just felt like I had done what I could out there.

"I felt like I sort of put into practice a lot of the lessons that he's taught me, and I felt like I conducted myself in a way that he would be proud of, win or lose. And that's what today was about for me in a lot of ways as well."

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Alex Dimond is an assistant editor of ESPN.co.uk