Hong Kong: 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 at Fanling.
The pair had been neck-and-neck for two days, coming into the final day with a share of the lead. They still could not be separated as they stood on the 12th tee on Sunday at the Hong Kong Golf Club, a Golf Facility Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
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 10th 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 of 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.”
“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.”
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.