It would be a gross understatement to say that Justin Rose was fired up to take on his Ryder Cup teammate and fellow countryman Lee Westwood in the final round of the World Golf Finals in Turkey:
All English affair in the final tomorrow.@westwoodlee we'll see ya bright and early!— Justin Rose (@JustinRose99) October 11, 2012
Rose was ready to go, and he harnessed that energy to fend off a late charge by Westwood en route to shooting a 66 in the final round, finishing five-under par and taking home a career-high $1.5 million prize by one stroke.
What a great week! Short, sharp and did the biz! Managed to beat Westy by 1 in the final today. Good game. Neither of us made a bogey. Solid— Justin Rose (@JustinRose99) October 12, 2012
Rose was hot from the start with a birdie on the first hole, and by the time he was through the front nine he held a one-stroke advantage at three-under par.
A birdie on the 10th hole gave Rose a two-stroke advantage, but Westwood wasn't about to let him coast to a victory, answering the call with a birdie of his own on the 16th hole to pull within a stroke with two holes left to play.
He would birdie 17 with a 20-foot putt, a birdie that ultimately put him in the lead for good.
The 17th hole has been good to Rose over the past month.
Friday, he chipped it in for a birdie on the 17th hole in what proved to be the knockout punch to Tiger Woods in the semifinals, and it was his eerily similar putt against Phil Mickelson on 17 at last month's Ryder Cup that swung the momentum of their match back to Rose.
Rose is keenly aware of his recent success on the 17th hole, as he explained to the Times of India:
The 17th green has been really good to me this week as I holed my second shot there yesterday and, of course, the 17th at Medinah turned around my match against Phil.
But you have to be pleased to go through this whole week after winning all my five matches.
So to not get beaten at all in the group stage and then to win the two finals is a great feeling and it's been a great week.
Westwood finished the tournament 22-under par over five rounds and took home a $1 million consolation prize as the runner up. He had some regrets, but was ultimately pleased with his effort, as he told the Guardian:
It's been a great week. Other than the financial rewards, it has been good to get back on the golf course after the Ryder Cup and to edge my way back into scoring. The defeat is not that difficult to swallow. Justin has beat me by a shot over 18 holes. I've played really well. I would be daft to criticise myself for the way I played today and all week. There is no negative.
What's next for Rose?
He plans on making a run at No. 1, Rory McIlroy: (h/t Telegraph)
I would like to give Rory a bit of a run for the Race to Dubai, He's got a bit of a lead on me and is playing a lot of golf now so he's going to be tough to catch, but if I can continue to push the top end of the leaderboard I will give myself a chance and that will be fun.
With the way Justin Rose is swinging the clubs, he's got as good a chance as anyone to pull of what would be another remarkable feat in what has been a remarkable year for the 32-year-old.