England’s Justin Rose admitted his relief after he broke his duck for 2017, ensuring an eighth consecutive season with a title, following an improbable victory at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
Rose capitalised on a horror final round from world No1 Dustin Johnson, who led by six shots overnight but carded a 77, to triumph by two strokes after a 67 left him on 14 under par.
A second career win at the prestigious WGC roster of events also lifted Rose to third in the Race To Dubai, giving him an outside chance of pipping leader Tommy Fleetwood in the final three tournaments.
“This is really, really satisfying. All players pride themselves on winning and I’ve won every year since 2010. I was very aware that that was slipping away from me this year,” he said.
“To win a WGC is just amazing, they count for so much on both tours. It’s an incredible start to my 2018 PGA Tour campaign and gives me a real shot in the Race to Dubai as well.”
Johnson bogeyed his first two holes and dropped three more shots on the back nine to slip into a three-way tie for second place, alongside US Open champion Brooks Koepka and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson.
Rose started modestly, reaching the turn level par for the day, but conjured five birdies on the back nine, the last of which, at 17 after an immaculate tee shot, saw him pull away from Stenson.
Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello and American pair Kyle Stanley and Peter Uihlein shared fifth place, four shots adrift of Johnson, Koepka and Stenson.
Rose trails Fleetwood by just over 1m in the Race To Dubai standings but with big points on offer in the final events of the European Tour season.
The tour heads to Antalya for the Turkish Airlines Open this week before the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa and the season finale, the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.