Justin Rose graciously pays tribute to Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood after his own challenge hit the buffers over the last seven holes of the season
Justin Rose hailed Tommy Fleetwood as a deserving Race to Dubai champion after his bid to end the season as European No 1 came unstuck over the final seven holes of the DP World Tour Championship.
Rose was a strong favourite to overhaul Fleetwood at the top of the standings when he cruised to the turn in 32 and led the tournament outright, but a mistake at the 12th triggered a late collapse which gifted the advantage back to his English rival.
With Fleetwood facing an anxious wait in the clubhouse after stuttering to a closing 74 which saw him slip into a tie for 21st on 11 under, Rose pushed his second into water at the 14th and missed a short par putt at 16 to leave him needing a big finish to deny Fleetwood the Harry Vardon Trophy.
Rose almost holed his bunker escape for an unlikely birdie at the 17th, and his long-range eagle attempt at the last drifted left of the hole as he signed for a 70 and finished in a four-way share of fourth place – two strokes behind Jon Rahm.
“I did hit the wall a bit today,” said Rose, who was a lowly 10th in the Race to Dubai standings until piling the pressure on Fleetwood with victories at the WGC-HSBC Champions and the Turkish Airlines Open.
“My front nine was beautiful. I was playing great golf and I felt in complete control, but the bogey at 12 seemed to slow all the momentum. From that point it was a bit of a grind.
<a href=’http://www.skysports.com/golf/scorecard/1769/dp-world-tour-championship-dubai’ target=’_blank’ class=’instorylink’>DP World Tour Championship</a>
“I just feel I went a bit flat around the turn. I had opportunities around 10 and 11 and didn’t take those, and I got a little bit out of my routine and a little distracted, hit a poor shot on the par-five and then it was a struggle from there on in. The shots on 13 and 14 were the undoing.
“The other guys seemed to do what they needed to do down the stretch, and I knew Jon was going to be a danger today in terms of the Race to Dubai.
“But I’m pleased for Tommy. He’s battled hard all year and put a good week in South Africa last week and had a great couple of comeback rounds this week to fight back and deserve it. He’s been leading all year and it’s good for him to finish it off.”