Justin Rose claimed back-to-back titles for the first time on the European Tour to intensify the battle at the top of the Race to Dubai, firing a final round 65 to secure a one shot victory in the Turkish Airlines Open.
A week after winning the WGC-HSBC Champions in China, when he overturned World Number One Dustin Johnson’s eight shot final round lead, Englishman Rose enjoyed another magnificent weekend in Antalya, shooting rounds of 64 and 65 at Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort to add a Rolex Series title to his increasingly impressive CV.
The Olympic Champion sealed a superb fortnight with three birdies in his closing four holes, draining a 10ft putt on final hole to finish on 18 under par. That birdie proved decisive with South African Dylan Frittelli (64) and Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts (66) sharing second place on 17 under.
Rose’s victory in the sixth event out of eight on the European Tour’s Rolex Series was worth 985,495 Race to Dubai points and means he is now just 134, 839 behind long-term leader Tommy Fleetwood in the season-long contest with two events remaining.
Fleetwood closed with a round of 68 to finish ten shots back in a share of 23rd place, with the 2017 Race to Dubai now poised for a fascinating finale.
Defending Turkish Airlines Open Champion Thorbjørn Olesen posted his second consecutive round of 66 to finish fifth on 15 under par, one shot behind three-time Major Champion Padraig Harrington, who signed for a 67 to finish fourth on 16 under par.
Justin Rose: “I haven’t been in a situation where I’ve rolled in many putts on the 18th green to win a tournament and obviously the way things were unfolding on the course today, I knew that that putt on 18 was critical, whether it be for a playoff or it be for the win. It was a very satisfying putt on 18 to make when I had to.
“I could see the leaderboard was very condensed all day and someone knew that it was going to take some type of run of birdies to break out today. There were a few players that did that towards the end. Dylan Frittelli did a brilliant job the last few holes, and my playing partner, Nicolas Colsaerts, too, was really strong down the stretch. So it was a really fun battle today.
“I’ve been very consistent this year. I’ve played a lot of good, solid golf and it just hasn’t converted into wins. Now I’ve checked that box and now it begins to be a pretty good year.
“I put myself in a predicament about next week. I didn’t quite fully anticipate being so close to Tommy but the good thing is I can look at Dubai two ways. If I win, then depending obviously on what Tommy does next week, we’ll have to see. It’s in Tommy’s hands still but it’s exciting to be within touching distance.”
Nicolas Colsaerts: “Well, the juices were flowing. It was great to be able to push it till the end. I was surprised that none of the other guys were making such a push, where I was only two under after 11, 12 holes, and still within reaching distance. It’s been a while to be able to almost close it and in such a fashion. I guess there’s a lot of positives to take out of it.
“I knew I was running hot. I hit an unbelievable five iron that never left the pin, exactly how I wanted it. I didn’t think that it was going to move that much. Could have been a little more aggressive with it but I still feel like I gave it a good try.
“It’s great for the confidence, of course. I’m going to play those last two events, trying to squeeze, like I said the other day, squeeze out of these tournaments as much as I can. It’s great to play well in big events, and I can’t wait for these next two weeks.”
Dylan Frittelli: “I felt really confident over all of those chips. I’m glad they got me in contention today and seemed to play pretty well under pressure. Great performance on the front nine, and played pretty well through the back nine. Although a few putts slipped by, I’m still proud of the way I finished.
“I played with Justin yesterday and he played amazing golf. For me it was wonderful to be out there with him. Strikes it really well. I mean, great guy, chatted between shots. It was so much fun being out there. He’s a worthy winner. Yesterday he played the socks off me, so congrats to him.”