Oct 31, 2018: Justin Rose has a return to World Number One in his sights as the Englishman defends his title at this week’s Turkish Airlines Open, the sixth Rolex Series event of the 2018 Race to Dubai.
The World Number Two claimed his second successive win at the Regnum Carya Golf and Spa Resort last year when he followed up his WGC-HSBC Champions victory with a one-stroke triumph over Nicolas Colsaerts and Dylan Frittelli in Belek.
Only a win would do this week if Rose is to return to the summit of the Official World Golf Ranking, but with four top tens in his last five European Tour appearances – including a share of third in China last week – the Olympic Golf Gold Medalist is in confident mood.
“It’s a pretty similar situation to last year in some ways. There have been a lot of top tens coming into this week, which makes you feel like you’re playing well. You’re in contention and on the leaderboard and you’re looking for that little kick to get over the finish line.
“Coming over here last year, I won in China the week before but I was able to roll it into this week and made the putt on the final green to get ahead of the field. Confidence-wise, I’d say it feels fairly similar. Now it’s up to me to put four good rounds together.
“World Number One is an added thing to think about, obviously. That’s not going to help me to win the tournament. I’ve got to keep it and run my routines and try and keep it simple. That’s how you play your best golf. I always play my best golf by stripping away thoughts rather than by adding them, so I have to be careful how I frame them this week.”
Tommy Fleetwood, meanwhile, is also targeting a number one spot of his own over the next three weeks – in the Race the Dubai – as he chases down the sizeable lead of his close friend, Open Champion Francesco Molinari. Fleetwood is also on superb form, with three top tens in his last three events, and has played every Turkish Airlines Open since its inauguration in 2013.
The Turkish Airlines Open kicks off the final stretch of Rolex Series events, the European Tour’s eight premium tournaments each with a minimum prize fund of $7million, as the 2018 Race to Dubai nears a conclusion, with only the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player and the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, remaining before the European Tour Number One is crowned.