Justin Rose goes to world No1 after playoff win in Turkey

Pádraig Harrington missed out on place in top-64 of Race to Dubai after poor finish

Justin Rose of England acknowledges the crowds after winning the Turkish Airlines Open at Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort in Antalya, Turkey. Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images

Justin Rose of England acknowledges the crowds after winning the Turkish Airlines Open at Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort in Antalya, Turkey. Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images

 

That old gag about pressure being only found in tyres was no laughing matter for those in the cut and thrust of the final round of the Turkish Airlines Open, as Justin Rose – who returned to world number one – out-dueled Haotong Li in a play-off where the Chinaman’s frailty with the putter was exposed with a three-putt from 10 feet at the first extra hole to effectively hand the title to the Englishman.

Rose wasn’t immune from fraying nerves himself, as – leading by a stroke playing the 17th – he had also three-putted the penultimate hole. And, again, on the 18th in regulation, Rose suffered another bogey (after his approach found a greenside bunker) while Li’s torment came by way for a three-putt bogey which was like a dress rehearsal for the horror show that followed.

After Rose shot a final round 68 to Li’s 71 for both to finish on 17-under-par 267, the drama continued into sudden death. And if it seemed that Li had stolen the initiative off the tee with a huge adrenaline fueled drive, and Rose taking a more conservative 5-wood, it was very much Li’s to win when he hit his approach in to 10 feet. Rose two-putted from 20 feet for his par, but Li succumbed to the pressure with the title on the line and raced his 10-footer three feet by the hole and then missed the return putt. Li dropped his putter, put his hands to his face. But there was no place to hide. Even Rose looked uncomfortable.

“There were moments out there where it looked like both of us weren’t holding our nerve very well. It was quite tricky to putt coming in, to be honest with you, and obviously 18 (took) a scalp there at the end; that’s a treacherous green and one you definitely needed to respect,” said the back-to-back champion.

Li Haotong puts his hand to his face after three-putting on the first playoff hole. Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images
Li Haotong puts his hand to his face after three-putting on the first playoff hole. Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images

Rose – who successfully defended a title for the first time in his career – added over €1million to his bank balance and moved back to the top of the world rankings for a second time. His first stint lasted just one week, ironically after suffering a playoff defeat to Keegan Bradley in the BMW Championship in September.

“Yeah, I was very keenly aware of losing in a playoff to Keegan and my playoff record of late hasn’t been great. I really wanted to buck that trend and get through this playoff today. Fooch (caddie Mark Fulcher) and I, we’ve learned from some of our mistakes in playoffs, and I was distracted by a cart on 18 playing Keegan, just tried to go through it. Golf cart went behind me during the playoff; I had to take a moment. So it was amazing how I was challenged with the same mental thoughts as BMW, and you learn, even at my age and position in the game, you’re still learning weekly and it was nice to put this playoff away.”

Shane Lowry shot a final round 68 for 11-under-par 273 to secure a share of 14th (winning €87,851) while Paul Dunne’s 70 for 274 left him in tied-18th (€76, 186) Pádraig Harrington hit speed bumps on the homeward journey – including a costly triple-bogey seven on the 10th – to sign for a closing 72 for 278 in tied-35th, adding €40,949 to his order of merit standing.

If not contending for the win, Harrington’s pressure was of a different kind. His target was to secure an automatic place in the field for the Nedbank Challenge to keep alive his bid to reach the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai and he was motoring along nicely until the wheels came off on the Par 4 10th, where he hit his drive into the lake and compounded matters by putting his next into the water too in running up a triple bogey seven.

Harrington still had that automatic ticket in his grasp, until a bogey-bogey finish saw him drop out of the top-64 available players on the Race to Dubai order of merit to get into Sun City. “I have got to say, and I am being honest about this, but I would hate to be a tour pro playing for his card every day. It’s so annoying. I don’t mind playing to win a tournament but it is really hard to play when you are trying not to make a mistake. It’s just horrible. It felt horrible,” said the Dubliner.

“I played great for three rounds and today I putted well and scrambled great but you never would want to be hanging into a position as it is not an easy thing to do, to be defending,” he added.

Harrington was still on the charter flight out of Turkey to South Africa, but with a sponsor’s invitation to play in the tournament rather than the automatic spot in the field (he finished two places outside the 64 available) he’d so badly wanted.

Lowry plays his second shot into the 12th green. Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images
Lowry plays his second shot into the 12th green. Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images

For Lowry, there were positives in a weekend move which yielded a top-15 finish. “It’s an alright week considering how I feel like I played. I didn’t hole anything and I felt I wasn’t 100 percent off the tee. Mentally I was very good. I kept going today when it was tough,” said Lowry, who headed on to Sun City with the belief that he can still achieve his target of reaching the top 30 on the moneylist by season’s end. He moved up one spot to 41st.

Dunne – who’d led after the first round – eventually finished in tied-18th. “I just kept hitting it to 20 feet, didn’t make any putts all day. It’s kind of disappointing, one under was pretty poor for how I played. But it is what it is. It is even worse when you see Shane there one shot ahead of me when I finished,” he quipped.

Collated final round scores in the Turkish Airlines Open, Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort, Turkey (Gbr & Irl unless stated, Irish in bold, par 71):

267 Justin Rose 65 65 69 68 (Won after first playoff hole), Haotong Li (Chn) 66 67 63 71

269 Thomas Detry (Bel) 66 70 68 65, Adrian Otaegui (Spa) 68 65 71 65

270 Lucas Bjerregaard (Den) 70 67 66 67, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 66 69 69 66

271 Thorbjorn Olesen (Den) 65 67 68 71, Tommy Fleetwood 68 66 68 69, Danny Willett 67 65 69 70

272 Thomas Aiken (Rsa) 71 65 66 70, Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin) 68 70 67 67, Sam Horsfield 66 67 68 71, Alexander Levy (Fra) 67 66 66 73

273 Tom Lewis 69 63 71 70, Shane Lowry 68 70 67 68, Alexander null Bjork (Swe) 73 69 65 66, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 69 66 70 68

274 Andy Sullivan 72 68 66 68, Paul Dunne 64 71 69 70, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 69 69 67 69, Pablo Larrazabal (Spa) 68 69 68 69, Thomas Pieters (Bel) 75 69 62 68

275 Jason Scrivener (Aus) 67 67 70 71, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 66 70 67 72, Julian Suri (USA) 67 68 70 70, Joost Luiten (Ned) 70 66 69 70, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 69 71 68 67, Darren Fichardt (Rsa) 68 68 68 71, Russell Knox 70 66 69 70

276 Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 70 70 68 68, Robert Rock 73 68 69 66, Renato Paratore (Ita) 73 66 70 67

277 Andrea Pavan (Ita) 68 75 64 70, Chris Paisley 67 69 69 72

278 Jorge null Campillo (Spa) 72 69 69 68, Mikko Korhonen (Fin) 74 71 65 68, Hideto Tanihara (Jpn) 72 64 71 71, Lucas Herbert (Aus) 73 68 68 69, Stephen Gallacher 70 71 71 66, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa) 67 71 73 67, Pádraig Harrington 65 70 71 72, Lee Westwood 66 72 74 66

279 Shubhankar Sharma (Ind) 70 72 70 67, Andrew Johnston 71 70 66 72, Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 70 65 72 72, Aaron Rai 71 71 69 68

280 Matt Wallace 67 70 71 72, Dean Burmester (Rsa) 72 65 68 75, Trevor Immelman (Rsa) 72 71 69 68, Ashun Wu (Chn) 66 71 71 72, Ashley Chesters 72 69 70 69, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 70 68 69 73, Gavin Green (Mal) 67 70 73 70

281 Maximilian Kieffer (Ger) 70 74 70 67

282 Joakim Lagergren (Swe) 72 69 70 71, Jordan Smith 74 71 68 69, Lee Slattery 70 70 69 73

283 Paul Waring 75 71 70 67, George Coetzee (Rsa) 70 70 72 71

284 Thomas Bjorn (Den) 73 69 71 71, Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 71 69 76 68, Matthew Southgate 78 70 68 68, Richard Sterne (Rsa) 74 69 68 73

285 Ross Fisher 72 75 68 70, Jeunghun Wang (Kor) 70 71 74 70, Oliver Fisher 71 74 71 69, Jens Dantorp (Swe) 72 71 70 72

286 Scott Hend (Aus) 73 74 67 72, Matthieu Pavon (Fra) 73 71 69 73, Julien Guerrier (Fra) 77 69 73 67, Nacho Elvira (Spa) 71 72 72 71

287 Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 71 68 73 75, Brandon Stone (Rsa) 74 70 70 73, Alvaro Quiros (Spa) 69 73 73 72

288 Richard McEvoy 75 71 68 74

291 Ali Altuntas (Tur) 74 69 76 72

299 (a) Taner Yamac (Tur) 78 79 71 71

321 (a) Leon Acikalin (Tur) 74 79 85 83

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