Rose eyes China dou­ble with Dubai glory beck­on­ing

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

SHANG­HAI: Three weeks ago Justin Rose de­clared last month’s Hong Kong Open would be his last event on the Euro­pean Tour in 2015. Then he won it, and ev­ery­thing changed.

The English­man now finds him­self look­ing for back-to-back wins on Chi­nese soil with one goal in mind, win­ning the Race to Dubai. “Some­times you make de­ci­sions based on what you know at the time, right?” Rose told AFP yes­ter­day at Lake Malaren, Shang­hai, venue for the $7 mil­lion BMW Masters which starts on Thurs­day. “Ob­vi­ously things changed for me.

“Win­ning in Hong Kong got me closer up the board and made it a re­al­is­tic prospect to win the Race to Dubai.” There are two events re­main­ing, this week’s BMW Masters in Shang­hai and next week’s sea­son-end­ing DP Tour Cham­pi­onship in Dubai. World num­ber six Rose is fifth in the Euro­pean Tour Race to Dubai stand­ings on 2,528,224 points — 865,699 be­hind leader Rory McIl­roy.

But with 1,333,330 points up for grabs for the win­ner both this week and next, Rose knows the Race to Dubai is still in his own hands.

“I’m go­ing to have to win one of these last two tour­na­ments, that’s all I know,” Rose said. “I think if I win one of them and play solid in the other then I’m hard to beat.

“If I go win-win then I’m un­beat­able so it’s in my hands, which is the good thing.”

‘Modern era’

Rose won the old Euro­pean Tour Order of Merit and the Harry Var­don Tro­phy back in 2007, two years be­fore it was rein­car­nated as the Race to Dubai.

It’s clear that he has a burn­ing de­sire to add the newer ver­sion to his bulging CV that in­cludes the 2013 US Open and a com­bined 34un­der-par score in this year’s ma­jors, the low­est ever recorded by a player who didn’t win.

“Any time you have an op­por­tu­nity to achieve some­thing like win­ning the Race to Dubai or the Order of Merit, as it was when I last won it, you have to take it. I would love to win it in the ‘modern era’ as I call it,” said Rose.

But the 35-year-old will not have it all his own way against a high-class field con­tain­ing the top five chal­lengers to McIl­roy, who is not play­ing this week.

English­man Danny Wil­lett, in sec­ond place, needs a top-25 fin­ish to over­haul McIl­roy af­ter clos­ing the gap to just 74,213 points with third place across the city at the WGC-HSBC Cham­pi­ons last week.

Then come Ire­land’s Shane Lowry (727,579 points be­hind McIl­roy), South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen (791,816 be­hind), Rose and another South African Bran­den Grace (926,625 be­hind).

All can hit the num­ber one spot be­fore the sea­son’s cli­max next week with a win on Sun­day. “I need to play well enough this week that if I win next week I don’t have to worry about who fin­ishes sec­ond,” Rose said. “That prob­a­bly means fin­ish­ing sec­ond at worst this week to control my own destiny.” —AFP

SHANG­HAI: Ser­gio Gar­cia of Spain tees off dur­ing the fi­nal round of the WGC-HSBC Cham­pi­ons golf tour­na­ment in Shang­hai. — AFP

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