Sweet Smell of Success for Justin Rose after Title Defence in Turkey
Justin Rose reclaimed his position at the top of the world rankings when he successfully defended the Turkish Airlines Open at Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort. He defeated China’s Li Haotong in a playoff.
The Englishman started the day three shots behind Li but led by two with four to play. An incredible eagle on the 15th moved Li back level but both men dropped a shot over the last three holes to take it to a play-off at 17 under.
Li three-putted the 18th when they played it again, and that was enough to hand the title to Rose and see him ascend to the top of the rankings once more.
Thomas Detry and Adrian Otaegui both signed for rounds of 65 to finish two adrift on 15 under par. Lucas Bjerregaard and Martin Kaymer were at 14 under, a shot clear English pair Tommy Fleetwood and Danny Willett, and another Dane in Thorbjorn Olesen. It was encouraging for their fans to see Kaymer and Willett beginning to once again look like the players we all know they can be.
The victory sees Rose join Jon Rahm and Alex Noren as a multiple Rolex Series winner and represents the first successful title defence of his career.
“It's taken me 20 years to defend a title, I guess, so that's great,” he said. “I've had some pressure-packed Sundays of late, dare I say, coming away with consolation prizes in a way. World Number One after losing in a play-off, finishing fourth but winning the FedExCup. I was keenly aware I wanted to get back in the winner's circle and it was good to get it done today.
“The fun thing is I still feel like there's improvement to be had and that's what I'm looking for. I'm really looking forward to the off-season to still work at a few things and still get better. I think that's the exciting part, at 38, I still feel like there is improvement to be achieved. More majors, that's what I'm interested in, trying to chase down as many as I can.”
Li needed to get up and down to save par on the first but he could not repeat the feat on the second and his lead was cut to two shots. Rose hit the green in two at the par-five seventh for a birdie and had a share of the lead when he put his approach to six feet on the tenth.
Li made eight pars in a row but he missed the green on the 11th and when a short missed putt followed, he was one behind. Rose and Li both got up and down from the side of the green - with Rose getting some good fortune when he hit the pin - on the 12th for birdie, and the whole event had a different complexion when he put his tee-shot on the 14th to eight feet for a two-shot lead.
But the Chinese golfer hit his second at the par-five 15th to two feet for a magnificent eagle. Rose three-putted the same hole to they were level once again.
Li then hit his approach at the next to six feet, but Rose struck his even closer and he walked off the green leading by one. A three-putt on the 17th levelled things up again and both men missed putts from inside six feet on the last for a pair of closing bogeys.
“A tough day for me, honestly,” said Li. “The playoff, I saw that ball definitely go in. I think I played well the whole week but didn't hole a few putts on the last and that was it.“It's a pretty good round, especially against Rosey who's such a nice guy. Hopefully next time I can play better.”
Otaegui turned in 31 with birdies on the second, seventh and ninth - courtesy of a beautiful approach. He holed from ten feet on the 13th, put his tee-shot to three feet on the par-three next and then made the most of the 15th to get to six under for the day.
Detry turned in 32 with gains on the first and seventh but dropped a shot on the tenth before making five birdies in a row from the 12th.
Bjerregaard was level par after ten holes with three bogeys and three birdies before he made four in a row from the 11th, while two-time Major Champion Kaymer was bogey-free in a 66.
Fleetwood signed for a 69, Willett a 70, and Olesen a 71 to sit a shot ahead of South African Thomas Aiken, England's Sam Horsfield, Frenchman Alexander Levy and Finn Tapio Pulkkanen.
Bryson DeChambeau’s astonishing run of form continued as he defeated fellow American Patrick Cantlay by one shot to claim the Shriners Hospital for Children Open. It was his fourth victory in 12 starts, his fifth in all, and it takes him to fifth in the world rankings. Those who thought he was a flash in the pan are being made to eat their words. He may do everything in his own unique way, it may look ugly but it works.
He had to come through an eventful back nine at TPC Summerlin, with four players sharing the lead at some point or other. Cantlay, trying to become the first player to win back-to-back in Las Vegas in nearly 20 years, made a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-five 16th hole to take a one-shot lead. But he fluffed a bunker shot at the par-three 17th. Playing behind him, DeChambeau rolled in a huge eagle putt from just off the 16th green. Cantlay missed his long par putt, giving DeChambeau control of the tournament.
Cantlay birdied the 18th for a 65, but it wasn't enough as DeChambeau parred in to finish on 263, 21 under par.
The 25-year-old American began his run with a playoff victory at the Memorial, and then won consecutive FedEx Cup playoff events in New Jersey and Boston. He said he was only playing in Las Vegas to shake off a little rust. "I was able to play some great golf," DeChambeau said. "I'm happy to get it done.”
Not since Jim Furyk in 1998-99 had anyone successfully defended his title in Las Vegas, and Cantlay looked as if he might get it done when he drove the green on the par-4 15th for a two-putt birdie, and then rolled in another good birdie after having to lay up on the 16th.
His tee shot into the 17th was a fraction away from catching a slope and feeding toward the hole. Instead, it tumbled into the bunker to set up what appeared to be a relatively simple shot. "When I dug my left foot in, it didn't have a bunch of sand," Cantlay said. "I hit the shot and there was more sand under the ball. I didn't anticipate it.”
Former US Open champion Lucas Glover had a four-foot birdie putt on the 15th hole that would have given him a share of the lead with three holes to play. Glover missed the putt, and then missed a 30-inch par putt. One hole later, he was three shots behind. Glover finished with a triple bogey for a 71 and tied for seventh.
Peter Uihlein, who shared the 54-hole lead with DeChambeau, didn't make a birdie until the 11th hole, finished bogey-bogey for a 75 and tied for 23rd. Sam Ryder was one shot behind when his second shot to the par-five 16th took a terrible bounce and ended up in the water. He managed to save par and birdied the last hole with a 15-foot putt for a 62 to finish alone in third. Rickie Fowler (63), Abraham Ancer (66) and Robert Streb (68) were another shot behind.
DeChambeau won for the fifth time in just his 68th start as a pro.“More power to everyone that does it their own way,” he said. "Everybody is unique. Everybody does it in a different way. I believe I found a way that works really, really well for me and it allows me to be super consistent week in and week out. You know what? I hope down the road it'll keep happening. You never know. But so far it's proven itself quite a bit.”
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