Justin Rose is looking forward to having another crack at a successful title defence after coming close to claiming back-to-back WGC-HSBC Championships at Sheshan International Golf Club.
The Englishman started the day three shots behind overnight leader Tony Finau but closed the gap to one shot on the front nine as he engaged in an enthralling battle with the Ryder Cup star and another American in Xander Schauffele.
Rose found himself two shots off the lead stood on the 18th tee and found the water with his third on the par five as he missed out on a place in a playoff – won by Schauffele with a birdie on the first extra hole.
That meant that a successful title defence is still missing from Rose’s remarkable golfing CV, something he is hoping to put right with two more defences coming up soon, starting with next week’s Turkish Airlines Open.
‘I have events I’ve got to defend, two left in Turkey and Indonesia,’ he said. ‘I’ve never defended a tournament before so that’s the goal for this run, to defend one of them.’
He added: ‘Tough day for everybody. You just look at the scoreboard, seems like everyone fell apart. There was no chasing pack today, it was a three-horse race all day. It was hard to keep the mistakes off the card completely today.
‘It was a fun battle. I was always just one or two shots behind, it felt on the back nine, but I birdied 13 and 14 to give myself a chance and still had a chance I felt when I hit my iron shot into 17.
‘I hit a good iron shot into there and Xander made his putt – I missed my putt. I was two behind playing the last trying to force something there.
‘I was in the hunt and a decent defence. A solid week.’
Kiradech Aphibarnrat finished two shots behind Rose as he secured a third top five in this season’s World Golf Championships.
His closing 71 was one of just 13 under-par rounds on the final day but the Thai felt he was far from his best in Shanghai.
‘Really happy with the score because the way I’m playing, it’s terrible,’ he said. ‘I holed a lot of putts, a lot of par saves today but overall one under par is the best golf I can do today.
‘It’s very low for my standard but, at the end of the day, I just keep the score and then I’m just playing with the card in my hand.’
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