Justin Rose wins back-to-back for the first time, as Antalya hosts the fifth Turkish Airlines Open. Charles McLaughlin reports from the spectacular Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort, hosting the event for the second time.
Justin Rose wins back-to-back for the first time, as Antalya hosts the fifth Turkish Airlines Open.
It’s appropriate that a key ingredient to classic Turkish delight is… essence of Rose! Fresh off his stunning victory in Shanghai, where he came from eight shots back to win, Justin Rose came to Turkey hoping to bolster his belated charge in the Race To Dubai. In the event, for the second week in a row, Rose found himself well off the pace – six shots back with nine to play on Sunday – but somehow managed to power through the field to win.
In his first back-to-back win on tour, Justin faced a repeat of his (missed) playoff putt in the Masters against Sergio Garcia on the final green. With joint leader Nicolas Colsaerts an inch or two closer to the hole, Rose drained his 10-footer nervelessly then watched as his opponent’s effort slipped by the left edge.
His closing 65 was enough to pip first-round leader Colsaerts and the surging Dylan Frittelli by a stroke. With a maiden win on tour and a playoff loss to his credit, Frittelli is having a fantastic year. He really caught the eye here with a spectacular run of five birdies in a row on the front-nine, including three chip-ins!
In contrast with his sparkling play in earlier rounds, joint overnight leader Shane Lowry stumbled on Sunday and was soon passed by the field. However, there was a welcome return to form for Padraig Harrington in 4th, who was left ruing some loose play on Friday, but otherwise put together some of the tidiest golf of the week.
In Rose, the organisers undoubtedly got the champion they must have wished for. However, it’s also clear that Turkey and in particular Antalya was also a winner, with the images being broadcast worldwide. The luxurious all-inclusive Regnum Carya resort was home to players, family, caddies, officials and media throughout the week and made for one of the most entertaining stops on Tour. The resort literally becomes part of the course, with the 16th tee perched atop a luxury villa!
As the sun set and the presentation ceremony began, sponsor Turkish Airlines had one final flourish up their sleeve with a dramatic delivery of the trophy – by hoverboard! It was a fitting high-flying climax to a superb week of world-class golf and hospitality.