Turkish Airlines Open: Justin Rose wins play-off and returns to number one in world rankings

Justin Rose wins the Turkish Airlines Open
Justin Rose wins the Turkish Airlines Open

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.

Final leaderboard

Justin Rose wins play-off

-17 Justin Rose, Li Haotong

-15 Adrian Otaegui, Thomas Detry

-14 Martin Kaymer, Lucas Bjerregaard, Thorbjorn Olesen

Day four report

Justin Rose will fully celebrate his second spell as world number one after capping an extraordinary run of golf with 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 following a nervy finish 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 after finishing third on his debut in 2013, while he also won its precursor - an eight-man match play competition - in Antalya in 2012.

Rose spent two weeks as world number one earlier this season after losing out to Keegan Bradley in a play-off for the BMW Championship, but had been determined to get back to the summit in style with a second consecutive victory in Turkey.

"It's taken me 20 years to defend a title so that's great," admitted Rose, who has won five times and recorded 24 top-10 finishes in his last 31 events.

"Maybe I haven't won enough tournaments to give myself enough opportunities to defend, but to do it back-to-back is very special.

"I was very keenly aware of losing the play-off to Keegan and my play-off record of late hasn't been great. I really wanted to buck that trend. Being world number one doesn't make you one-under-par on the first tee the next time you play, but it's something to be proud of for sure.

"I'm sure we'll re-toast getting to number one and this time we have some silverware. Last time it was muted because I was still so mad at not winning the tournament, but this time I have that double winning feeling so it might be a bit more fun."

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 and Rose doubled his lead 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.

"There were moments out there where it looked like both of us weren't holding our nerve very well," Rose admitted. "The 18th green is a treacherous one and it took a couple of scalps there at the end.

"And obviously I do have to spare a thought for Haotong. That's a tough way to finish. He's hit a positive putt to try and win and that green is very tough."

Li, who held off Rory McIlroy to win the Dubai Desert Classic in January, added: "It's a tough day for me. I think I played well the whole week, but didn't hole a few putts on the last and that was it."


Day three report

Justin Rose pledged to put his foot down in pursuit of a second straight Turkish Airlines Open title and a return to the top of the world rankings after suffering a costly concentration lapse in Antalya.

Rose began the third round at the Regnum Carya Golf Resort with a two-shot lead, but ended it three behind China's Li Haotong after hitting three balls into the water in the space of nine holes in an uncharacteristically untidy 69.

Li's flawless 63, which included an eagle and six birdies in the first 12 holes, gave the 23-year-old a 17-under-par total of 196 and a three-shot lead over Rose and France's Alexander Levy, with 2016 winner Thorbjorn Olesen a stroke further back.

"I struggled with my focus and concentration and made a couple of questionable decisions," admitted Rose, who will replace Brooks Koepka as world number one if he can make the successful title defence of his career.

"It was maybe a little bit of tiredness at the end of a long season so I have to make sure I come out on Sunday more focused.

"Three balls in the water and still shot 69 so there's some good stuff still happening. It was a bit of a disappointing finish but there is so much golf to be played and I am not really too fussed about the position I'm in.

"Being three shots back you have to put your foot down and go for it. It does not mean reckless aggression, but you have to pick your moments to be aggressive.

"In some ways there's nothing to lose and everything to gain. I'm going to have to shoot in the mid 60s and it's maybe easier than if I was one ahead."

Li chipped in for his fifth birdie of the day on the ninth to cover the front nine in 29 and took the outright lead in even more spectacular style by holing out from 173 yards for an eagle on the next.

A birdie on the 12th took him three shots clear and although Rose closed to within a shot after birdies on the 11th and 12th, dropped shots on the 13th and 18th left the Olympic champion facing an uphill battle.

Li has finished no worse than 11th in his last three starts and birdied four of the last six holes to edge out playing partner Rory McIlroy in the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic in January.

"Those three weeks gave me a lot of experience and confidence, especially against the best golfers in the world," Li said. "I definitely got a lot of confidence from Dubai and since then playing a lot of big events.

"It's going to be an exciting day tomorrow and I'm looking forward to go against Rosey, especially in a Rolex Series Event. I really want to win this week and play my best tomorrow."

England's Danny Willett and Sam Horsfield are five shots off the pace on 12 under, with Ryder Cup star Tommy Fleetwood and South Africa's Thomas Aiken a shot further back.

Day two report

Justin Rose moved to the top of the leaderboard after a second successive 65 in the Turkish Airlines Open.

Defending the title he won last year, the Englishman moved to 12-under-par having fired home seven birdies, the last coming at the 18th and final hole after a superb seven-iron to eight feet.

Only a wayward drive at the 10th halted Rose's progress as he dropped a shot for the first time this week but by the end of Friday he'd opened up a two-shot lead over the chasing pack, headed by Thorbjorn Olesen.

The Dane was level with Rose before a bogey at the closing hole, his first of the event, saw him fall into a tie for second alongside Danny Willett and Tom Lewis, who shot a best-of-the-day 63.

Lewis won in Portugal in September to reignite his European Tour career and former Masters champion Willett will look for something similar after matching Rose's 65, his final birdie coming at the par-four 16th.

Adrian Otaegui remains bogey-free following a second-round 65 and he's alongside Alex Levy (66), Sam Horsfield (67) and Hao-tong Li (67).

Race To Dubai second Tommy Fleetwood moved inside the top-10 with an effortless 66 in which he birdied all three par-fives, but Irish duo Paul Dunne (71) and Padraig Harrington (70) both slid down the leaderboard.

Day one report

Thorbjorn Olesen and Justin Rose both made bright starts to the Turkish Airlines Open as Regnum Carya Resort again yielded low scores under bright blue skies.

Winners of this event in 2016 and 2017 respectively, Olesen and Rose scored well alongside each other despite not having their best games as Paul Dunne reached seven-under.

Dunne's bogey-free 64 gave him the lead by a single shot from Olesen, Rose and Padraig Harrington, with Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Lee Westwood among those one shot further back.

Rose can return to the top of the world rankings with a big performance this week and got off to an ideal start, holing out from the fourth fairway for an eagle two which he immediately followed with a birdie.

The only real threat to what was a clean scorecard came at the 10th, where his approach shot held onto the bank rather than finding water, but after the par putt went in the Englishman was largely untroubled.

A wayward tee-shot at the 12th meant he had to settle for another par where most others were making birdie, but a wonderful two-putt at the final par-five, the 15th, saw him reach five-under before a birdie at the final hole capped an excellent day's work.

Olesen took advantage of all the supposed birdie holes, making six in total split equally across the nines, to join his Ryder Cup team-mate and Harrington in a share of second.

The latter, tipped by our Ben Coley, missed his share of opportunities but nevertheless confirmed his game to be in excellent shape at a course where he finished fourth a year ago.

It's Harrington's compatriot Dunne, though, who leads the way, thanks in no small part to a lengthy, curling birdie putt on the 10th, his final hole having started the day on the 11th tee.

The Irishman has struggled for large parts of the year but looks to have found his game in time for a late push up the Race To Dubai standings and, perhaps, reclaim his place in the world's top 100.

Rose has loftier ambitions and was delighted with his score as he looks for his second win of the year and a successful title defence.

"Today, I never had to press anything in my round," he said. "Had a little frustrating period around 11, 12, 13, 14, where I had chances that slipped by. I knew I was getting frustrated at that point in the round and tried to see if I could grab a couple birdies coming in which I did and nice to sign off with a three at the last.

"The golf course isn't particularly easy. If you hit some good tee shots, you can have some wedges in your hand. But the weather is what's making it scoreable. It's just absolutely perfect golfing conditions."

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