Friday 23 March 2018

Rose throws down gauntlet to McIlroy

JUSTIN Rose knows he needs to win one of two events over the next fortnight in China to have a chance of denying world number one Rory McIlroy his first Race to Dubai title.

Rose arrived in Shanghai for this week's BMW Masters trailing McIlroy by €437,334 and with six official events remaining on the season schedule.

the Englishman, ranked world number five, can move ahead of McIlroy in the Race if he comes first or second and the Northern Irishman finishes outside the top seven in the elite 78-player tournament being staged on the Lake Malaren course.

“Rory is playing a lot of European Tour golf through to the run-up to Dubai, so I am going to have to play well and figure I'm going to have to win one of these next two weeks to give myself a really good chance in Dubai,” Rose told reporters.

McIlroy and Rose will contest next week's WGC-HSBC Champions event at Mission Hills in Shenzhen but the world number one could then pull clear because he has also entered the Singapore Open and a week later will defend his Hong Kong Open title.

Double major winner McIlroy will then not meet Rose again until the November 22 season-ending Dubai World Championship.

But after a PGA Tour season in which Rose won the WGC-Cadillac Championship, was third behind McIlroy in the PGA Championship and runner-up in the Tour Championship, the 32-year-old is much more confident of claiming a second European No. 1 title in six years.

“When I won the Order of Merit in 2007 it kind of felt like it happened out of the blue that season,” said Rose.

“But I now feel like if it happened again this season, it would come from a different place.

“It would come from what has been a bit of a miraculous year, and a year when I seemed to play well in the right tournaments.

“So for it to happen this year, it would be a lot more meaningful based upon there's been a lot of hard work that's gone on between 2007 and now.

“I am a lot more aware of why I'm playing well, and a lot more sustainable into the future.

“And to be Number One of any tour around the world, especially the European Tour, that's a huge goal and that would be a huge honour to be honest.

“So it's got my attention for these next few events.”

Organisers have drawn Rose and McIlroy together for the opening round of this week's $7m event being staged on the Lake Malaren course in suburban Shanghai


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