Justin Rose won the UBS Hong Kong Open by one shot after a final round battle with Lucas Bjerregaard on a tense and dramatic final day in at the Hong Kong Golf Club.
The pair had been neck-and-neck for two days at Hong Kong Golf Club, coming into the final day with a share of the lead and they still could not be separated as they stood on the 12th tee on Sunday.
But a double bogey from Bjerregaard on the 14th proved crucial and Rose came home in 34 to get to 17 under and win a European Tour title for the fourth season in a row.
“Lucas played incredible golf,” said Rose. “It was the first time I had the chance to play with him. I was thoroughly impressed, not just his game but his temperament and how he is as a person.
“When you separate yourself from the field like we did, it’s probably a tough one for him to lose. But he didn’t lose it, just both of us played incredibly well and separated from the field. I’m very happy to get the job done. I had a chance to win in Napa last week, I was tied for the lead going down the tenth hole and let that one flitter away a little bit. I wanted to hang onto this one.”
Rose’s eighth European Tour win takes him above Shane Lowry into fourth in the Race to Dubai and the 2007 Order of Merit winner would love to finish top of the pile again at the DP World Tour Championship.
“Dubai, especially, is a tournament I’ve played well at in the past,” he said. “I’ve had a couple second-place finishes there. I’d love to break that duck, as well. And if you win in Dubai, you’ve got a great opportunity to wrap things up, so I’m looking forward to the next few weeks.”
There was more drama further down the leaderboard with players battling to make it into the top 110 in the Race to Dubai and maintain their playing privileges for next season.
Matt Ford, who began the week at 117th, secured his card with a tie for seventh but Ben Evans, who was one place behind Ford at 118th and finished one shot behind him, fell agonisingly short at 111th.
Prom Meesawat, who came into the week 110th in the Race to Dubai, moved up to 108th thanks to five birdies in his last six holes with Chris Paisley and Renato Paratore, despite his disqualification on Thursday, also holding on to their cards.
The leading duo came into the day at 15 under and Rose made the first move as he drained a 20-footer on the second to move ahead on his own. Bjerregaard flew his second shot over the green on the third but recovered to pitch to within six feet and join Rose at the top with the World Number Seven showing him the line after reaching the green in three.
Another birdie from Bjerregaard on the fourth moved him out in front on his own but the Dane saw a three-foot putt lip out on the eighth to slip back to 16 under. A stunning approach to the ninth then set up a birdie with Rose three-putting to drop a stroke and hand his rival a two shot lead.
Rose birdied the tenth to get back within one shot and when Bjerregaard found the trees off the 11th and made a bogey, the Englishman secured his par to get back on level terms. But a 30-footer on the 12th put Bjerregaard back in the driving seat as the pair went blow for blow for the second consecutive day.
The duo were both ragged off the tee at the 13th and had to pitch out of the rough but got up and down brilliantly for a pair of birdies to maintain the one shot gap.
A second two-shot swing of the day was then to come on the 14th when Bjerregaard found the rough with his tee shot and then caught a branch with his second. Rose saw a birdie putt agonisingly lip out but his rival’s bogey effort did the same and the lead changed hands again.
Both men made par on the 15th but Rose flew his approach on the next straight over the flag and rolled in from 15 feet to open up a two shot lead and give him the cushion to bogey the last.
“It was fun to battle with Justin these last two days,” said Bjerregaard. “It’s guys like him that I want to go out and compete against, and at least I gave him a little bit of a scare. The last time I was out in the final group on a Sunday, I shot 89. So 20 shots better today, I’ll take that.”
Photo 1: Justin Rose of England celebrates with the trophy after winning the final round of the UBS Hong Kong Open at The Hong Kong Golf Club on October 25, 2015 in Hong Kong. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Photo 2:Justin Rose of England in action during the final round of the UBS Hong Kong Open at The Hong Kong Golf Club on October 25, 2015 in Hong Kong. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Photo 3:Lucas Bjerregaard of Denmark on the 18th green during the final round of the UBS Hong Kong Open at The Hong Kong Golf Club on October 25, 2015 in Hong Kong. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)