Rose had a three-shot lead shrink to a single shot when he opened with three bogeys in five holes, and Jon Rahm made birdie on the par-5 sixth. Rose answered with a bold play on the next hole for a short birdie, restored his lead at the turn and then kept in front of Scott, who birdied his last four holes for a 68.
Rose finished at 21-under 267 for a two-shot victory, becoming the first player since Peter Jacobsen in 1995 — when the South and North courses at Torrey Pines were 700 yards shorter — to post all four rounds in the 60s at this event.
“The offseason was short and sharp,” Rose said. “I didn’t know how I was going to come out. It’s awesome to play that well this week.”
He won for the 10th consecutive year worldwide, including his gold medal at the 2016 Olympics, and expanded his lead at No. 1 in the world. His 10th victory on the PGA Tour gave him the most among English players, breaking a tie with Nick Faldo.
“He’s the No. 1 player in the world, and he’s showing why,” Scott said. “Even when he was a little off, he kept it together.”
Scott, making his debut at this tournament, didn’t make a birdie until the ninth hole and missed a 20-inch par putt on the front nine. He was flawless on the back, however, and kept the outcome in doubt until the end.
Rose holed an 8-foot par putt on No. 15 with Scott in tight for birdie to keep his lead at three shots. On the par-3 16th, Rose holed a 30-foot birdie putt, and then Scott rolled in his birdie from 20 feet. Scott pulled within two by hitting his approach to a foot on the 17th.
Scott badly missed the fairway on the par-5 18th and had to lay up from a bunker, and Rose stuffed his wedge into 3 feet to wrap it up. The Australian figured he lost his best chance on the front nine, when Rose was dropping shots and he couldn’t make a move.
“Just was a little shaky and I wasn’t solid tee-to-green,” Scott said. “He never really was under much pressure. By the time I got it sorted out, it was too late.”
Hideki Matsuyama closed with a 67 and tied for third with Talor Gooch, who shot 68 to match Rose with four rounds in the 60s. Gooch, who finished fourth last week in the Desert Classic to get into this event, earned a spot in next week’s Phoenix Open. He is playing this year on conditional status.
Rahm was never a factor after pulling within one shot with that birdie on No. 6, which turned out to be the only one he made all round. He shot 72 and tied for fifth with Rory McIlroy (69) and defending champion Jason Day (67).
Tiger Woods had to settle for his own version of winning. Starting the final round 13 shots behind, Woods wanted to get into double figures. He birdied his last two holes for a 31 on the front nine to shoot 67 and finish at 10-under 278.
Rose failed to convert a 54-hole lead in the BMW Championship late last year in Aronimink, and he had a 3-6 record on the PGA Tour when leading going into the final round. He struggled with his swing early, missing tee shots to the right and missing the green from the fairway on No. 5, and his putter looked shaky.
But he delivered big birdie putts on No. 7 and No. 10, short-game shots that took stress of his putter on consecutive holes on the back nine.
He won with a new set of clubs having signed an endorsement deal with Japan-based Honma. Rose also won without his regular caddie, Mark Fulcher, who had a heart procedure last week. Rose used Gareth Lord, the former caddie of Rose’s longtime Ryder Cup partner, Henrik Stenson.
Rose now heads to the Saudi International for a meeting of four of the top five players in the world.