Justin Rose stays composed as he takes Race to Dubai advantage
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 18/11/17 3:58pm
Justin Rose played down the pressure of being in pole position to be crowned European No 1 for the first time in 10 years after claiming the 54-hole lead at the DP World Tour Championship.
Rose has insisted all week that he feels it is a "bonus" to be contending for the Race to Dubai title having been a lowly 10th in the standings a month ago, but he suddenly emerged as Tommy Fleetwood's closest rival with his back-to-back wins at the WGC-HSBC Champions and the Turkish Airlines Open.
The Englishman heads into the final day of the season in Dubai on top of both the tournament leaderboard and the projected standings after a faultless 65 on day three at Jumeirah Golf Estates earned him a one-shot advantage over a tightly-bunched chasing pack.
But Fleetwood was also seven under for the round after recovering from a poor start with eight birdies over his last 11 holes, and Rose is fully aware of the need for another low round on Sunday to hold off the raft of challengers.
"It's an opportunity, that's the way I'm going to look at it and I don't see much pressure on myself tomorrow," said Rose, who frittered away a big lead on the final day of the 2007 season before fighting back and winning a play-off to snatch the Harry Vardon Trophy ahead of Ernie Els and Padraig Harrington.
"This is going to be a day just to go for it really and play well. It's not going to be the kind of day where, say, 10 years ago when I had a big lead just try to hang on. There are a lot of good players and it's going to be a day where you have to play good golf.
"I saw Tommy's name creep up on the board. It's brilliant. It's just so much fun and a ton of guys will fancy it tomorrow. It's really condensed, and a one-shot lead with a pack like that behind you doesn't mean much
"I'm certainly not thinking about being the leader because it's such a condensed pack and someone is going to have to play great golf to win. Someone in touch is going to shoot in the mid-60s at some point."
"It's going to be a day where you're out there not paying too much attention to the leaderboard early in the round. You just have to put your blinkers on and play good golf."
Rose was not satisfied with his putting during his second-round 70 which he capped with a three-putt bogey-six at the last, but a session with coach Phil Kenyon reaped rewards on day three as he kept a bogey off his card and holed a tricky six-footer at the last to save par after finding the creek with his second.
"I felt better today," he added. "If I can continue that improvement tomorrow, I prefer that. There were still a couple moments out there when I didn't hit great putts, but that one at the last is a big confidence builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill, and that's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke.
"My short game has been really sharp, and I putted better than yesterday. When I looked at yesterday's round, there were 10 opportunities I felt I didn't take, one way or another, so today was a bit sharper."