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Golf News: - Posted 22nd July 1998

Rose wins his first prize money as a pro

Reuters

Hilversum, HollandJustin Rose, the 17-year-old sensation of the Open Championship last weekend, is a money-winner just two days after turning professional.

Rose, the English golfer who finished tied fourth as an amateur in the Open at Royal Birkdale, earned 625 when his team won the Dutch Open pro-am on Wednesday.

"It feels good because I feel I'm going to work by earning this money," said Rose, who is to play in his first professional tournament, the Dutch Open, starting on Thursday.

Rose, who moved into the pro ranks on Monday after his composure, style and shot-making captivated the crowds at the Open, has been lifted by a message of encouragement from a player he greatly admires, Ernie Els.

The South African left a note on Rose's locker at Royal Birkdale which read: "Go out there and enjoy it. You can do it."

Els was referring to Rose's final round in the Open on Sunday but he could have been talking about the Englishman's decision to turn professional a week before his 18th birthday.

"It was nice to get the message from Ernie," said Rose. "I've had a lot of encouragement, 200 telephone calls for a start, but it's particularly nice to get it from him and very touching.

"He's one of the players I've admired most over the years.

"And it's things like that which have made me feel I'm doing the right thing by turning pro now."

Asked what he expected of himself over the next 10 years because of turning pro so young, Rose again made the Els connection.

"Ernie's done fantastically well in his 10 years or so," added the Englishman. "I'd hope to be able to do something similar, like win a couple of majors."

Yet his love of the team game, born of years in the amateur ranks, gave Rose his first priority.

"Team play is what I've always enjoyed about amateur golf," said Rose, the youngest player to appear in the amateur biennial Walker Cup match, Britain and Ireland against the United States.

"So to play at Ryder Cup level would be an unbelievable thrill and has to be a top priority."

If he does make the European Ryder Cup team and goes on to feature in next year's clash in Boston, Rose will be one of the rare breed to have gone from Walker to Ryder straight away.

But as in the Open Championship, where being an amateur prevented him collecting nearly 70,000 for his tied fourth place behind winner Mark O'Meara, Rose will earn no money.

At present, Ryder Cup players are not paid for their appearances.