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 closing the gap on Tommy Fleetwood at the top of the Race to Dubai rankings. The 37-year-old Englishman – 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 the 4th round to hold off Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL) and Dylan Frittelli (SA) 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.
If he wasn’t before, you can bet Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood is looking over his shoulder now. The 26-year-old , still leads the way but has Rose breathing down his neck ahead of the final two weeks of the European Tour season both part of the rich Rolex Series. Rose has shown himself to be a comeback expert recently, having been eight back after three rounds at the HSBC Champions and nine adrift after 36 holes in Turkey a week later. He hopes to claw back the 134,839 points to Fleetwood to be named Europe’s number one player for the second time.
His 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.
Harrington, winner of the Open Championship in 2007 and 2008, was two shots off the lead overnight alongside Rose.
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.
Justin Rose said: “It feels incredibly sweet, like a London bus, waiting so long for one [win] and then two turning up at once. It was a lot of fun and it was quite unique for me to make that putt that really counted on the last hole to close it out.” T.O./pph