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Rose: I still feel like I stole victory in Shanghai

Justin Rose in action yesterday during the pro-am tournament ahead of the Turkish Airlines Open in Antalya. Photo: Getty Images
Justin Rose in action yesterday during the pro-am tournament ahead of the Turkish Airlines Open in Antalya. Photo: Getty Images

Phil Casey

Justin Rose admits he feels like he stole a victory in last week's WGC-HSBC Champions, but that will not stop him from trying to pinch the Race to Dubai title from Tommy Fleetwood.

Rose came from eight shots behind world number one Dustin Johnson in the final round to win his first tournament of the year in Shanghai, which lifted him from 10th to third on the money list.

The Olympic champion is still more than a million points behind his fellow Englishman, but 985,000 points are on offer for the winner of the Turkish Airlines Open in Antalya, where Rose won the precursor to the event - an eight-man matchplay competition - in 2012.

"Sunday was one of those fortunate days that you get once in a while in your career where you kind of feel like you steal a tournament," Rose said.

"Starting the day you don't expect Dustin Johnson to help you out so much, but you kind of know in the back of your mind that if you play a special round of golf, it's still possible.

"I think maybe we've all had a win in our career that's unexpected and certainly that was the case for me last week. But it was one of those rounds where everything happened for me on the back nine and everything happened just at the right time.

"What I was pleased about is that when the opportunity presented itself, when I knew I was in a tournament, I managed to close out strongly."

Asked if ending the year as European number one for a second time had been a major goal before Sunday, Rose added: "Yeah, it was on my mind.

"I was very aware that I needed to play some special golf in my last three events. I'm not playing South Africa next week so for me it was always going to be China, then here in Turkey and then take a week off just to go home and see the children and play Dubai.

"The simple maths was I had to win at least two of them. So part one is done, anyway. But it's really now about focusing on the next two events that I have to make a difference. I knew that I had to play some great golf to catch Tommy."

As well as winning Olympic gold in Rio last year Rose has a Major title to his name and a total of 19 tournament victories worldwide. But the 37-year-old insists winning the Race to Dubai would still be an important achievement.

Volumes

"If you win over the course of a season, that speaks volumes. I think to measure your game over the course of a year tells you that you've really been solid and you've really achieved something special."

Paul Dunne, currently 12th in the Race to Dubai, continues his hectic schedule in Turkey, alongside Shane Lowry and Pádraig Harrington.

Harrington has also accepted an invitation to play at next week's Nedbank Golf Challenge, hosted by Gary Player. The Sun City event is the penultimate tournament of the season and the seventh event on the Rolex Series.

"My game is in good shape and I'm looking forward to finishing off the season on a strong note. There is always a strong field for the Nedbank Golf Challenge, which tends to bring out the best in your game, and the golf course is one I particularly enjoy," said the three-time Major winner.

  • Turkish Airlines Open, Live Sky Sports Golf, 9.0am

Irish Independent

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