Justin Rose birdied the last at the Turkish Airlines Open to make it back-to-back wins and move to within touching distance of Tommy Fleetwood at the top of the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.
The Rolex Series events have brought high drama to the European Tour all season and it was no different at Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort as Rose and playing partner Nicolas Colsaerts were tied at 17 under stood on the 18th tee.
Both men put their approaches to eight feet but it was Rose who held his nerve to make a birdie, sign for a 65 and claim a tenth European Tour title to heap the pressure on fellow Englishman Fleetwood heading into the final two events of the season.
The Olympic champion leapfrogged Sergio Garcia into second
in the Rankings and the gap is now just 134,839 points at the top as Rose aims to be Europe's Number One for the second time after winning the Order of Merit in 2007.
South African Dylan Frittelli finished alongside Belgium's Colsaerts at 17 under after a 64, a shot clear of three-time Major Championship winner Padraig Harrington and two ahead of defending champion Thorbjørn Olesen.
As well as that victory at the Olympic Men's Golf Competition - which was not a European Tour win - Rose now has a Rolex Series victory to add to the 2013 US Open and two World Golf Championships, the latest of which came at last week's WGC-HSBC Champions.
The win also makes Rose just the third player to follow up a World Golf Championships win
with another victory the following week after Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.
Rose holed a 15-footer for birdie on the second but three-putted from the fringe on the next before taking advantage of the par five seventh and hitting a sublime approach to tap-in range on the ninth.
That put him in a four-way tie for the lead at the turn alongside Frittelli, Harrington and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
Frittelli had made five birdies in a row from the fourth which incredibly included chip-ins on the
fifth, sixth and eighth, while Harrington made a birdie-bogey start then chipped in on the sixth and hit a smart approach into the ninth.
Colsaerts also started birdie-bogey then holed a monster putt on the fourth before holing a ten-footer on the 11th to briefly make it a five-way tie at the top.
The par fives were proving key and Frittelli birdied the 12th before Rose got back alongside by doing the same and both men then made the most of the 15th along with Colsaerts.
Harrington made one of the par saves of the season on the tenth after putting his tee-shot in the trees and second in the water before holing from 60 yards. He went bogey-birdie over the next two holes but when he put his second into the 15th to 12 feet for an eagle, he was in a share of the lead.
A brilliant shot from a fairway bunker from Colsaerts set up a birdie on the 16th and a four-way tie but Rose followed him in from eight feet to take the lead on his own.
Colsaerts made it three in a row on the 17th thanks to an approach to seven feet and he and Rose headed to the 18th tee neck-and-neck where, ahead on the green, Frittelli holed a 12-footer to bring a fist-pumping celebration and help set up the late drama.
Dane Olesen produced
a late surge with three birdies from the 15th in his 66 to finish a shot ahead of Thai Aphibarnrat who closed with a 71 and England's Eddie Pepperell who signed for a 67.
Ireland's Shane Lowry, American Julian Suri and Paraguayan Fabrizio Zanotti were then at 13 under.
Thorbjørn Olesen will defend his Turkish Airlines Open title at the Regnum Carya Golf and Spa Resort in November in the sixth tournament out of eight in the European Tour’s Rolex Series.
The Dane picked up the biggest victory of his career with his three-shot win at last year’s tournament. The 27-year-old will be joined by England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Europe’s Ryder Cup icon Ian Poulter in Antalya.
He will also be battling with Olympic medalists Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Matt Kuchar in a stellar field for the tournament, which is the first of three consecutive Rolex Series events which conclude the season-long Race to Dubai on the European Tour.
Olesen said: “Last year was huge for me. I hadn’t been playing well in the previous few months and it was massive for me to win such a big tournament. The field is looking very strong again this time around but I’ve got good memories of Turkey, the course suits my eye and hopefully I can have another good week.”
Fleetwood has forced his way into the top 20 in the Official World Golf Rankings with a hugely successful season that has included wins at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and the HNA Open de France, as well as second at the WGC-Mexico Championship.
He has played at all four previous Turkish Airlines Opens and currently leads The European Tour’s Race to Dubai. The 26-year-old said: “I’ve always enjoyed playing in Turkey and it’s going to be another big tournament as we head into the final weeks of the season. I’m a fan of the course and I’m looking forward to the week.”
Five-time Ryder Cup player Poulter features in Turkey for a fourth time and has finished second and fifth among his previous visits. “I’ve been pretty happy with my form over the last few months and I’m looking forward to getting back to Turkey,” Poulter said. “It’s always a good week on and off the course and I’m sure we’ll have plenty of fun.”
Turkish Airlines’ Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications Ms. Seda Kalyoncu said: “Our tournament continues to grow year on year and we are delighted to have such prestigious players in Antalya. With this kind of talent on show, we can be sure of another exciting Turkish Airlines Open.”
President of the Turkish Golf Federation Ahmet Agaoglu said: “We are very happy with the strength of the field for November and having players of the calibre of Thorbjorn, Tommy and Ian coming to Turkey shows the significance of the Turkish Airlines Open in world golf.”
As well as bringing the fifth $7m Turkish Airlines Open to Belek, Turkish Airlines also sponsors a Challenge Tour event and the Turkish Airlines World Golf Cup amateur series and lets golf clubs travel for free.
The Turkish Airlines Open will boast all three of last year’s Olympic medallists, with Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Matt Kuchar confirming their places at the Regnum Carya Golf and Spa Resort for the sixth tournament out of eight in the European Tour’s Rolex Series.
Englishman Rose won gold in Rio after a memorable duel with silver-medallist Stenson and Kuchar took bronze as golf returned to the Olympics after a 112-year absence.
Antalya hosts the Turkish Airlines Open for a fifth time this year and the trio will be battling it out again in the first of three consecutive Rolex Series events, which conclude the season-long Race to Dubai on the European Tour.
Aside from The Open Championship, is the first time the three have competed against each other on European soil since Rio.
It is a significant step and a major boost to the attempts of Turkish Airlines and the Turkish Golf Federation to grow the sport.
Rose said: “It’s great that people are looking forward to having the three of us there and I’m sure we’ll have another good tournament and hopefully another podium finish! Winning gold in Rio was one of the highlights of my career. Seeing Henrik and Kuch always brings back good memories and it was a great experience for us to share.”
The Turkish Airlines Open will be staged at the Regnum Carya for the second time from November 2-5 and will this year be part of the European Tour’s Rolex Series – the premium category of eight events on the European Tour, staged in a variety of golfing locations around the world, each with a minimum prize fund of US$7 million.
We are very proud to announce that for the moment volunteers have registered from 16 different countries.
In alfabetical order:
Belgium, Danmark, England, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Schotland, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, U.S.A.
Thanks to all !!!
Rolex’s immense involvement in golf is deep-rooted, permeating all levels of the sport. Strong support for top-level players, the main professional tours and governing bodies, as well as the finest events in the golfing world has placed Rolex – for 50 years – at the very heart of the game.