Wednesday 21 November 2018

Justin Rose returns to world number one after victory in Turkey

Justin Rose of England poses with the Trophy after he wins the final round during Day Four of the Turkish Airlines Open at Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort on November 4, 2018 in Antalya, Turkey. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
Justin Rose of England poses with the Trophy after he wins the final round during Day Four of the Turkish Airlines Open at Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort on November 4, 2018 in Antalya, Turkey. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Phil Casey

Justin Rose will return to the top of the world rankings on Monday after making the first successful title defence of his career in the Turkish Airlines Open.

Rose defeated China's Haotong Li on the first play-off hole after the pair had finished tied on 17 under par at the Regnum Carya Resort.

The 38-year-old is now a combined 55 under par for his 12 rounds in the £5.4million event, while he also won its precursor - an eight-man matchplay competition - in Antalya in 2012.

Rose spent two weeks as world number one earlier this season after finishing second in the BMW Championship, but had been determined to get back to the summit in style with a second consecutive victory in Turkey.

A poor finish to Saturday's third round had left Rose three behind Li at the start of the day, but a front nine of 33 and a birdie on the 10th, which he had bogeyed in the previous two rounds, was enough for a share of the lead.

Li then bogeyed the 11th after missing the green with his approach and although he finally picked up his first birdie of the day on the par-five 12th, Rose did likewise to remain one ahead.

Rose struck what looked like the killer blow with a birdie on the 14th, but Li responded with a stunning approach to the par-five 15th to set up a tap-in eagle as Rose three-putted from long range for par.

Li looked like having the chance to move in front after an excellent approach

to the 16th too, but Rose produced a better one and holed from four feet after

the world number 50 missed from twice the distance.

Rose's advantage was short-lived as he three-putted the 17th and Li appeared to have the upper hand on 18 when he found the green in regulation after Rose's approach came up short in a greenside bunker.

However, it was Li's turn to three-putt from long range and Rose was left with a putt for the win after a superb bunker shot, only to miss from four feet.

The players returned to the 18th for sudden-death and after Rose missed from 15 feet for birdie, Li amazingly three-putted from just nine feet to gift his opponent the title.

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