| Turkish Airlines Open Review
The Turkish Airlines Open served up another nail-biting finish at the stunning Regnum Carya Golf Resort in Antalya, Turkey. Winner Justin Rose retained his title (for the first time in his career), won almost US $1.2mm and regained the World Number One sp
Justin Rose retained his title for the first time in his career and regained the World Number One spot.
However, runner-up Li Haotong was left ruing a day of missed opportunities, culminating in his heartbreaking three-putt in the playoff to hand the title to Rose. Rose was delighted by breaking his defending duck: "It's taken me 20 years to defend a title so that's great. Maybe I haven't won enough tournaments to give myself enough opportunities to defend, but to do it back-to-back is very special.” Leading Rose and Alexander Levy by three overnight, Haotong couldn’t get the flatstick working on the front nine, and Rose took advantage, going out in 33 to peg back his lead.
As Levy faded quickly, Rose was quicker out of the traps on the Sunday and had caught Li by the 10th. When Justin opened up a two-shot lead by the 14th it looked all over, but a tap-in eagle at the 15th from Li brought him level.
Nerves kicked in on both players and a succession of three-putts led to the playoff, after Rose missed a four-footer on the last for the win.
With no repeat of last year’s rain and cold snaps, the weather was perfect with balmy sunny days throughout and the Regnum Carya course in outstanding condition.
The event has become one of the most popular stops on tour, largely due to the venue. With players, caddies, their families and media all staying in one all-inclusive sixstar resort, there is an “end-of-term” vibe that is infectious. The US$7mm purse in a no-cut field also helps!
First round leader Paul Dunne finally got his irons working again and a sparkling 64 was the result, giving him a much needed confidence boost. This is a course that rewards aggression, and Tom Lewis grabbed it by the scruff of the neck with a superb 63 in round two. Li Haotong shot into a threeshot lead with another 63 in round three – a fantastic round that could have been under 60 had he not closed with six pars! These were the low rounds of the week.
Sponsors Turkish Airlines also had plenty to celebrate as, in addition to another hugely successful tournament, the event coincided with the opening of the new International airport in Istanbul.
Winner Justin Rose retained his title and regained the World No.1 spot