Justin Rose delighted to last course to win eighth European Tour title

Published: Sunday 25th October 2015 by The News Editor

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Justin Rose was delighted to convert his second winning opportunity in seven days by claiming his eighth European Tour title in the UBS Hong Kong Open.

Rose carded a final round of 68 in Fanling to finish 17 under par, one shot clear of Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard, with England’s Matt Fitzpatrick, American Patrick Reed, Australia’s Jason Scrivener and Korea’s Lee Soomin joint third on 11 under.

“I’m very happy to get the job done,” Rose, who was the pre-tournament favourite, said. “I had a chance to win in Napa last week (at the Frys.com Open). I was tied for the lead going down the 10th hole and let that one flitter away a little bit. I wanted to hang on to this one.

” Lucas played incredible golf. When you separate yourself from the field like we did, it’s probably a tough one for him to lose. But he didn’t lose it; just both of us played incredibly well.”

Bjerregaard and Rose went into the final round tied for the lead and, with a four-stroke advantage over the chasing pack, were set for a head-to-head battle for the second day running.

Rose edged in front with a birdie on the second, but Bjerregaard immediately hit back with birdies at the next two holes to move into a lead which he held until three-putting the eighth.

Bjerregaard also looked in trouble on the ninth after his tee shot on the long par four left him blocked out by the trees, but the 24-year-old hooked a brilliant approach to 10 feet and holed for an unlikely birdie.

And with former US Open champion Rose surprisingly three-putting from 25 feet, Bjerregaard was two shots ahead with nine holes to play.

The last time Bjerregaard was in the final group in the fourth round was in December’s Alfred Dunhill Championship, when he slumped to a closing 89 – including a back nine of 50 – to slump from second to 49th.

This time there would be no such collapse, but Bjerregaard was left to rue a back nine of 37 which featured wild drives on the 11th, 13th and 14th, the latter leading to a double-bogey six when his recovery attempt from the trees hit more timber.

Rose had birdied the 10th and 13th and after seeing his birdie attempt on the 14th lip out and leaving another on the 15th an inch short, holed from 12 feet on the 16th to claim a decisive two-shot lead with two holes to play.

The 35-year-old could afford to three-putt the 18th for only his third bogey of the week, mocking his timid par attempt by performing a chicken impression.

“It’s an incredibly tough pin. TV probably doesn’t do it justice,” Rose insisted. “On the first putt if I hit it too firm and a little bit low, I would say there’s a chance you’re in the water.

“All the wrong things are going through my head at that point. But obviously when you have a two-shot lead, you just want to get it done.”

Bjerregaard admitted he was disappointed to let a two-shot lead slip, but added: ” It was fun to battle with Justin these last two days. It’s guys like him that I want to go out and compete against, and at least I gave him a little bit of a scare.

“That double bogey on 14 really ruined it for me. But all in all, I’m happy the way I’ve played. The last time I was out in the final group on a Sunday, I shot 89. So 20 shots better today, I’ll take that.”

England’s Matt Ford also had reason to celebrate after a tie for seventh was enough to lift him from 117th in the Race to Dubai to 106th, with the top 110 players earning their European Tour card for next season.

“I’m very, very happy,” Ford said after a closing 69. “I o bviously left myself a lot to do and it seems to bring out the best in me. Y ou start doubting yourself when you start missing cuts and not playing great.

“I always knew this course suited me and it was just a case of keep going and yeah, I’m extremely proud.”

It was not such good news for compatriot Ben Evans, who birdied five of his last eight holes to shoot 65 and tie for 11th, but finished 111th on the money list, just 1,007.70 points behind Renato Paratore.

Published: Sunday 25th October 2015 by The News Editor

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