Justin Rose new world No 1 despite losing BMW Championship play-off
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 11/09/18 9:15am
Justin Rose has been crowned world No 1 despite losing out to Keegan Bradley after a play-off in an enthralling final round at the BMW Championship.
Rose and Bradley both bogeyed the 72nd hole to finish tied at the top of a congested leaderboard on 20 under par, and the Englishman then missed from six feet for par at the first extra hole before Bradley tapped in to clinch his first PGA Tour title for over six years.
The significant consolation for Rose was that his outright second-place finish gave him enough points to dethrone Dustin Johnson at the top of the world rankings, making him the fourth English golfer to reach the summit and the first since Luke Donald in 2012.
But he missed out on the chance to surpass Sir Nick Faldo as England's most successful player on the PGA Tour, although his 15-foot putt for victory in regulation could hardly have come any closer to dropping as it lipped out sideways to hand a reprieve to Bradley.
Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods were again left to reflect on what might have been as their challenges came up just short in the soft, damp conditions at Aronimink, while 2014 FedExCup champion Billy Horschel, Xander Schauffele and Webb Simpson also gave a great account of themselves in the penultimate event of the season.
The adverse weather that washed out Sunday's play finally relented on Monday morning as the final round got underway 24 hours later than scheduled, and Rose soon relinquished his overnight lead when a poor approach to the opening green cost him a bogey.
He looked in danger of dropping another shot when his second to the second bounded over the green and left him a tricky pitch back up the slope, but Rose judged it to perfection and his ball dropped gently into the cup for a huge, bonus birdie.
Up ahead, Bradley ignited his charge when a birdie at the fifth began a run of four in five holes as he raced to the turn in 31, while Woods birdied three of the first six holes and added another at the ninth to raise expectations of ending his five-year winless run.
But the Woods momentum stalled when he bogeyed the 10th, while McIlroy remained in the hunt despite struggling to make anything happen on the greens as he settled for nine consecutive pars on the outward run.
Horschel was also firmly in the mix when he capped a front-nine 30 with four birdies in five holes, setting up a tense closing stretch with no fewer than nine players all harbouring realistic chances of victory.
Rose stayed on track for a triple celebration when he converted a superb second to six feet at the 12th before Bradley hit back with an impressive birdie at the 14th, while Woods lost too much ground on the leaders when he sandwiched birdies at 12 and 13 with costly dropped shots at the 10th and 14th.
McIlroy finally got a birdie putt to head south at the 10th but couldn't build on his first gain of the day, while Horschel set the clubhouse target at 19 under par when he birdied 14 and 16 either side of a bogey that would ultimately cost him a place in the play-off.
After Schauffele revived his hopes with a birdie at 15, Bradley then got to 20 under with a well-judged two-putt from 50 feet for birdie at 16, but Rose matched his four from six feet moments later before the American regained the lead with another confident putt on the penultimate green.
Again, Rose responded with a pure iron over the pin to 12 feet at the short 17th which he backed up with a smooth putt just as Bradley hooked his drive close to the trees on the left of the final fairway.
He blocked his second way right and into the grandstand and, after pitching to eight feet, his putt for par curled past the front of the hole - Bradley's second blemish of the round adding up to a 64 and handing the advantage back to Rose.
Needing a par for the win, the world No 1-elect drilled a low fade up the left side of the fairway but failed to reach the green as his second failed to penetrate the headwind, and his chip then pulled up 15 feet short of the target before his putt for a 10th PGA Tour title did not catch enough of the hole to disappear.
Schauffele, who holed from 20 feet for birdie on the 17th, just failed to join the play-off when he missed from similar range at the last, and Rose then hit an almost-identical second shot back on the 18th that Bradley had thinned moments earlier, although Rose's ball hopped back out of the stand and settled in the fringe less than 20 feet from the flag.
Bradley's second ended up in close proximity to Rose's ball, and the American lagged to a few inches before Rose's putt bobbled hard and crawled to a halt six feet away, from where he pushed his second effort wide of the hole.
That left the stage clear for Bradley to tap in for an emotional victory, the fourth of his career and his first since the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in 2012, while Rose left the green with mixed emotions as he contemplated his new status as the best player on the planet.
Horschel (64) and Schauffele (67) ended the week in a share of third place, with Schauffele ensuring he would be able to defend his Tour Championship title as he leapt from 41st to 18th in the FedExCup standings, while McIlroy's second birdie of a frustrating 68 on the 16th hauled him into outright fifth on 18 under par.
Woods also made certain of a return to East Lake as his 65 saw him finish sixth alongside Simpson, with Ryder Cup hopeful Tony Finau (65), Tommy Fleetwood (69), Francesco Molinari (67) and Rickie Fowler (69) completing the top 10 on 16 under.
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