Justin Rose took a big step up the world rankings, and closed the gap on Tommy Fleetwood in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, after bagging back-to-back victories for the first time in his career.
The 37-year-old Englishman, who the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai last week, followed up that with victory in the Turkish Airlines Open to record consecutive wins for the first time in his near 20-year career on tour, and move from 13th to sixth in the world ranking.
Rose produced the biggest comeback of the season to win in China last week, and the Ryder Cup star was in similarly devastating form in Turkey, shooting a final round 65, including three birdies in the last four holes, to snatch a one-shot victory over Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts after a thrilling final round.
Rose nailed a 10-foot birdie at the last to shoot a seven-under-par 65 and clinch a superb victory in the Rolex Series event, which cut the gap to R2D leader Fleetwood to less than 135,000 points.
Rose and Colsaerts came to the 72nd hole tied at the top with clubhouse leader Dylan Frittelli on 17 under, and the former Ryder Cup team-mates both hit superb approaches to set up excellent birdie chances. The Englishman took his chance with a confident stroke into the middle of the cup from 10 feet, but Colsaerts was unable to follow him in from two feet closer to leave Rose celebrating
With overnight leaders Shane Lowry and Kiradech Aphibarnrat both struggling on a final day delayed early on by the threat of lightning, Frittelli made the most significant move on the front nine as he chipped in three times in four holes in a sparkling run of five consecutive birdies. The South African, a winner in Austria earlier this season, blotted his card at the tough 10th before bouncing back with birdies at 12 and 15, and he converted an excellent second to the last to card a 64 and set the clubhouse target.
But, in the group behind, Rose and Colsaerts both birdied 15 and 16, and the Belgian picked up his third in a row at the 17th to make it a three-way tie for the lead as the valiant challenge of Padraig Harrington faded down the stretch.
Rose was the man to step up as he capped a seven-birdie 65 in some style, while Colsaerts’ 66 was not enough to break his five-year winless run on the European Tour.
Harrington, playing on a sponsor’s invite this week, had earlier conjured up a magical par-save at the 10th before making a brilliant eagle at the 15th which briefly got him into a share of the lead, but the veteran was unable to better par over the final three holes as he settled for outright fourth on 16 under.
The Irishman’s closing 67 lifted him ahead of Thorbjorn Olesen, who put up a stout defence of his title and suddenly entered the equation with three birdies in a row from the 15th before Frittelli, Rose and Colsaerts pulled away.
Third round leader Shane Lowry made only one birdie on the day and his round was summed up when he found water with an ambitious second to the long 15th, which cost him a bogey-six.
Fleetwood, meanwhile, completed a bogey-free weekend with a three-under 68 to earn a tie for 23rd, and he will look to take advantage of Rose’s absence from next week’s Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa as he bids to be crowned European No.1 for the first time.