Justin Rose reclaimed his position as world No.1 after triumphing in a play-off against Haotong Li to successfully defend the Turkish Airlines Open.
Rose displaces Brooks Koepka atop of the rankings after holding his nerve to make par on the 18th with Li three-putting to gift him the win.
After overcoming a three-shot deficit to the Chinese star, the 38-year-old claimed he’s now playing the best golf of his career.
“As a collective body of work, no doubt about it,” Rose said. “The consistency: I average 68.9 on the PGA Tour. That’s way lower than I’ve ever averaged.
“If you look at the numbers, absolutely, but I think there’s still improvement to be had.”
Li quickly frittered away a third of his lead with bogey on two and appeared shook after saving par on seven: pointing to his heart and allowing himself a wry smile as the ball threatened to lip out.
But Rose’s big moment came with a birdie on 10, drawing level with Li and banishing any lingering demons after finding water on the hole twice this week.
A birdie on 14 gave Rose a two-stroke lead but Li fired back on 15 to draw level with sensational eagle after begging his excellent approach to “be good one time.”
The pair then fired darts at the pin on 16 but only Rose could convert, leaving Li grimacing.
The 23-year-old was given a lifeline though, as Rose three-putted on 17 to leave them tied at -17. After both missed putts to seal victory on the last, they returned to the tee for a dramatic play-off.
And despite being left well behind Li’s booming drive, Rose made par after a solid 216-yard five iron and two nerveless putts, forcing Li to crumble under pressure and catapult himself back to the top of the sport.
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