Rose blooms to prick Fleetwood's hopes

DUBAI • The European Tour has been afforded the season-ending climax marketeers dream of.

No matter who prevails between Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose in the Race to Dubai, as will be determined over 18 holes at the Earth Course today in the final round of the DP World Tour Championship, this has been a thrilling duel.

Rose stood in the middle of the 18th fairway yesterday afternoon with the Order of Merit crown in his grasp.

He held a single-shot lead over Dylan Frittelli and, crucially with the Race to Dubai in mind, was two strokes ahead of Fleetwood.

The 26-year-old Fleetwood had earlier played his closing 11 holes in eight under for a second successive 65. His recovery from an opening round of 73 has been typical of his season-long approach.

Rose, in keeping with the gripping nature of this contest, was to find the water when seeking to reach the final green in two and thereby extend his lead.

From there, the 2007 Order of Merit winner - who is seeking a third tournament win in succession - admirably scrambled a par to finish with a third-round 65 and remain at 15-under 201 total.

"I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard," Rose, who was two shots ahead of Fleetwood (13 under), told the European Tour website. "But if I slip up tomorrow, he's right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.

"An opportunity, that's the way I'm going to look at it. Don't see much pressure on myself tomorrow. It's going to be a day where you have to play good golf."

The 37-year-old Rose can claim the Race to Dubai title today by finishing first or solo second if Fleetwood does not win, or with a top-five showing if his opponent finishes down the leaderboard. Fleetwood leads the race by 256,737 points but has Rose in his sights.

"Above all, whether I win it or not, or whether Justin wins it, one of us will have deserved it," said Fleetwood. "A year and a half ago, I was absolutely nowhere in the game. So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai, it's cool."

Frittelli's 63 matched the lowest score of the week. Spaniard Jon Rahm's 65 placed him alongside the South African at 14 under.

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 19, 2017, with the headline 'Rose blooms to prick Fleetwood's hopes'. Print Edition | Subscribe