Sunday, November 4th, 2018
Justin Rose defeated Li Haotong in a play-off to defend the first title of his illustrious career at the Turkish Airlines Open and returned to the top of the Official World Golf Rankings.
The Englishman also became the first player to successfully defend a Rolex Series title as he overcame China's Li with a par on the first extra hole following a thrilling final day battle at Regnum Carya Golf and Spa Resort.
Rose started the day three shots behind Li but led by two with four to play as he produced the kind of consistent display that helped him record six top ten finishes in the 2018 Race to Dubai before arriving in Turkey this week.
An incredible eagle on the 15th moved Li back level but Rose duly replied with a birdie at the 16th to move to the front again. A couple of bogeys coming in, though, paired with Li's dropped shot on the final hole, meant they finished tied at the top on 17 under.
A three-putt from Li on the first trip back up the par four 18th hole then handed Rose his 11thEuropean Tour win.
Rose said: "I love this area and this place is very special to me. Revisiting Turkey has been such a fun experience and I brought my family this time. My mum has had a wonderful week.
“Turkey is a growing golf nation and with weather like this they will be producing winners very soon.
“Thanks to Turkish Airlines this tournament is going from strength to strength and that support is valued by all of the players. This is one of the highlights of the year.
“I feel the home support here and it’s been a special week to share with my mum and family.”
Belgian Thomas Detry and Adrian Otaegui of Spain both signed for rounds of 65 to sit two shots behind the play-off places at 15 under par.
German Major winner Martin Kaymer and Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard were one shot further back at 14 under par, with English pair Tommy Fleetwood and Danny Willett, and another Dane in Thorbjørn Olesen at 13 under par.