Turkish delight for Justin Rose as wins come like London buses
Englishman Justin Rose’s purple patch continued in Antalya this week as a final-hole birdie saw him claim the Turkish Airlines Open to make it back-to-back wins.
• Justin Rose recorded his second victory in as many weeks, winning the Turkish Airlines Open by one stroke and closing the gap on Tommy Fleetwood at the top of the Race to Dubai rankings.
• Two-time Open champion Pádraig Harrington was just two shots off the pace in fourth as his return to form continued, with 2016 champion golfer Henrik Stenson earning a tie for 35th.
• Meanwhile, former number one ranked amateur Patrick Cantlay edged out Alex Cejka and Whee Kim on the second extra hole at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.
Englishman Justin Rose’s purple patch continued in Antalya this week as a final-hole birdie saw him claim the Turkish Airlines Open to make it back-to-back wins. The 37-year-old – who won the Silver Medal at the 1998 Open at Royal Birkdale, still his best ever Championship finish – shot a magnificent birdie-filled 65 on Sunday to hold off Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium and South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli on 18-under par. Rose now has a Rolex Series win to add to the 2013 US Open and two World Golf Championships, the latest of which came last week, having previously not recorded a victory since his Olympic gold in Rio last summer.
Tour race hotting up
If he wasn’t before, you can bet Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood is looking over his shoulder now. The 26-year-old – who tamed the notoriously difficult Carnoustie links just a matter of weeks ago to card a new course-record 63 at the 2018 Open venue – still leads the way but has Rose breathing down his neck ahead of the final two weeks of the European Tour season.
Rose has shown himself to be the comeback king in recent weeks, having been eight back after 54 holes last weekend and nine adrift after 36 holes in Turkey, and will hope to claw back the 134,839 points to Fleetwood to be named Europe’s number one player for the second time.
An exclusive club
Rose’s win also puts him among a unique group of players to have won the following week after clinching a WGC title – only he and former Open champions Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have accomplished the feat.
The Open Champions
Harrington, winner of the Claret Jug in 2007 and 2008, was two shots off the lead overnight alongside Rose – but despite making four birdies and an eagle on Sunday, dropped shots at the 2nd and 11th holes cost him the title. The Irishman held a share of the lead as late as the 15th, having eagled that hole and made one of the par saves of the season on the 10th, spinning his ball straight into the cup from 60 yards after putting his drive in the trees and second in the water.
Stenson meanwhile could not recreate Saturday’s heroics, following up his 66 the previous day with a final-round 70 to finish on four-under par.
What they said
Justin Rose said: “It feels incredibly sweet, like a London bus, waiting so long for one [win] and then two turning up at once.
“Today was a lot of fun. It was a different sort of win to last week – it was quite unique for me to make that putt that really counted on the last hole.
“So I was very happy with the way I was able to close it out. Nicolas and Dylan played brilliantly down the stretch, but this is brilliant for me and coming into the business end of the season it makes things interesting.”
Padraig Harrington added: “I'm very happy leaving. I know I didn't win the tournament but Justin obviously clearly went ahead and won it. I didn't lose it.
“For a lot of the day I thought it was going to be my day. I think the guys just played better at the end of the day. I don't have any real regrets.”
Best of the rest
It was another great week for Matthew Fitzpatrick and Thomas Pieters, both finishing tied for 11th on 12-under par alongside Matthew Southgate – who finished in a tie for sixth at Royal Birkdale at this year’s Open.
Ian Poulter, three-times a top-ten finisher at The Open, was just three shots further back in 20th place, while compatriot Eddie Pepperell continued his stunning return to form with a final-round 67 taking him to sixth on 14-under – his seventh top-ten finish in his last eight starts on tour.
Tyrrell Hatton, who has won the last two Alfred Dunhill Links Championships at 2018 Open venue Carnoustie, was 16th after reaching ten-under par with a 66 on Sunday.
Across the pond
Patrick Cantlay won his first ever PGA Tour event at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas, beating Alex Cejka and Whee Kim on the second play-off hole after all three players could not be separated after 72. The 25-year-old American has never played at The Open, but was number one in the World Amateur Golf Ranking for a record 54 weeks back in 2011, and could well make his debut at Carnoustie should his current ranking continue to rise. From off the back of the 18th green, Cantlay managed to get up-and-down for par to beat Cejka and Kim on the second extra hole, after bogeying the final two holes of regulation to join the duo on nine-under par. Elsewhere in the field, two-time Open Champion Ernie Els finished in a tie for 51st place after a frustrating 74 on Sunday.