Tuesday 16 January 2018

Justin Rose takes an early lead in $2.5m clash with Lee Westwood

Justin Rose in action against Lee Westwood during the final day of the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final
Justin Rose in action against Lee Westwood during the final day of the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final

Phil Casey

JUSTIN Rose today claimed an early lead over Ryder Cup team-mate Lee Westwood in their $2.5 million final of the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final.

With both players guaranteed $1m and effectively playing for the extra $500,000 on offer to the winner, they could perhaps be forgiven for adopting a relaxed attitude to the 18-hole showdown.

But that was certainly not reflected in the quality of the golf as Rose birdied two of the first three holes and Westwood narrowly missed for an eagle on the third.

Rose holed from 25ft for a birdie on the first, missed from five feet for another on the second and then holed from 12ft on the par-five third after missing the fairway with his drive and being forced to lay up.

Westwood had already hit a superb long-iron approach to within nine feet of the flag there, but was unable to convert the eagle putt and had to settle for a birdie to lie one under.

Rose was becoming increasingly annoyed by the amount of spectators taking pictures and his mood will not have been improved by seeing Westwood draw level on the seventh.

After his drive caught up on a grassy bank, Rose was unable to reach the green on the par-five in two and then missed from 15ft for birdie after his pitch pulled up quicker than he expected.

Westwood had hit another superb long-iron onto the green and two-putted from long range for a birdie to join Rose on two under.

Rose quickly regained his composure and birdied the par-three eighth from eight feet and the 10th from a similar distance.

That opened up a two-shot cushion after Westwood was unable to pick up any further shots, the world number four failing to take advantage of almost driving the short par-four ninth.

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