Rose claims World Golf title

First published in Sport Basingstoke Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Reporter

JUSTIN Rose saw off the top golfers in the world to continue his brilliant year by claiming the inaugural World Golf Final.

The north Hampshire golfing ace beat Lee Westwood by a single shot in Friday’s final at Antalya, in Turkey, shooting a five-under-par round of 66 to claim the $1.5million first prize.

The World Golf Final brought the top eight players in the world together for a medal match-play tournament, the players split into two pools for a round-robin stage, with the top two in each progressing to the semi-finals.

World number five Rose won all three of his pool matches, shooting a level par round of 71 to beat Hunter Mahan by four shots and a five-under-par total of 66 to beat Westwood by three. He ripped up the course in his final match, recording an incredible round of 62 (-9) to beat Webb Simpson by five shots.

The former Robert May’s School pupil’s perfect record saw him top Pool B, Westwood finishing second to also reach the semi-finals.

Having romped to victory in all of his matches, Rose’s semi-final against Tiger Woods was a far closer affair, the Hook man carding a two-under-par round of 69 to beat the legendary American by a single shot.

That set up a final against fellow Englishman Westwood – but Rose led from the first hole after sinking a 25-foot birdie putt.

Neither dropped a stroke in the entire round and the pair were tied at -2 after seven holes, but Rose rolled in birdies at eight and 10 to open a two shot gap.

Westwood had chances to narrow it, but missed a short putt at 13 and failed to find the cup from seven feet at the next. But the 39-year-old enjoyed better fortune on the par-five 16th, where both his drive and second shots narrowly evaded the water. He got up and down for birdie as Rose missed from inside three feet and the gap was down to a single shot.

Westwood piled on the pressure, hitting an excellent tee shot at the next, a 190-yard par three – but Rose holed out from long range and his opponent missed from half the distance to leave the north Hampshire man two shots up going down the last.

Westwood refused to lie down, hitting an excellent approach shot to set up a birdie, while Rose left himself with a testy three-footer to secure par and the match. There was no repeat of the 16th hole as the 32-year-old knocked it in to claim victory.

Rose said: “To not get beaten at all through the group stages and everything, it’s a great feeling. I don’t have a loose shot that’s plaguing me all the time. I feel my game is well rounded at the moment, all aspects can pull through for me at different times.

“My driving was a bit off today but I made a few putts so I feel like I’ve got something to lean on every day.”

Rose’s next tournament will be the BMW Masters, which gets under way in China on October 25.

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