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07 November 2018, 08:32 | Henrietta Morgan
Rose needs a win to regain the world No 1 ranking
Justin Rose outlasted Haotong Li in a playoff Sunday to defend his Turkish Airlines Open crown and reclaim his position atop the world rankings. More than having the top ranking, he goes home with a trophy.
The tournament - hosting 78 players for the competition - was held on November 1-4 at the Regnum Carya Resort.
Li is looking for his second win of the year following the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
But Rose had been in such fine and seemingly unflappable form for the first two days that when he went out with a two-shot lead at the Regnum Carya Course where he won a year ago, nobody expected these slip-ups, even if his 69 was far from disastrous.
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Turkish golfers Ali Altuntas, Hakan Yamac and Leon Acikalin also vie against their rivals in the event. "I didn't play the par-fives well, I wasn't comfortable off the tee and didn't hole many putts, and I still got a top 15, so it's another few Race to Dubai points closer towards my target".
If Rose needs any reassurance as he looks to successfully defend a title for the first time in his career, it is that he came from two strokes back a year ago to win by a shot.
"I like to play aggressive and for sure tomorrow, I will need a low one, but I will stay patient and try my best". I'm sure we will re-toast getting to No. 1, and this time I've got some silverware.
The first time Rose reached No. 1 in the world was two months ago, a bittersweet moment because he lost the BMW Championship in a playoff to Keegan Bradley.
Rose struck what looked like the killer blow with a birdie on the 14th, but Li responded with a stunning approach to the par-five 15th to set up a tap-in eagle as Rose three-putted from long range for par.
A birdie on the 12th took him three shots clear and although Rose closed to within a shot after birdies on the 11th and 12th, dropped shots on the 13th and 18th left the Olympic champion facing an uphill battle. I saw it on TV last years, the same event.
Rose, 38, also made the first successful title defence in his professional career dating back to 1999 and it was the third time he had won a title in Turkey.
"I do have to spare a thought for Haotong", said Rose, who can't catch leader Francesco Molinari in the Race to Dubai, despite moving up to third behind Tommy Fleetwood after pocketing €1.02 million.
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