Justin Rose isn’t just one heck of a golfer. Turns out he’s a bit of a fortune teller too.
Down eight strokes after 54 holes on Saturday at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, Rose said of leader Dustin Johnson: “Playing for second barring something crazy from him.”
Crazy, indeed. After shooting 68-63-68 in his first three rounds, Johnson ballooned to a 5-over 77 on Sunday, opening the door for Rose to fire a 67 and finish at 14-under, winning the tournament by two strokes over Johnson, Henrik Stenson and Brooks Koepka.
Overcoming an 8-stroke lead, the largest of the season, Rose won his 10th career European Tour title. Rose made up six of those shots in a thrilling back nine at the Sheshan International Golf Tournament. He hit 5 birdies to turn in a 31 on the back nine.
“This is really, really satisfying,” Rose said. “All players pride themselves on winning and I’ve won every year since 2010 (worldwide). I was very aware that that was slipping away from me this year. To win a WGC is just amazing, they count for so much on both tours. It’s an incredible start to my 2018 PGA Tour campaign and gives me a real shot in the Race to Dubai as well.”
Rose looked nothing like a champion as he birdied three holes in a 4-hole stretch at the end of the front nine to hit the turn at even. From there on, he was white-hot, birdying #11, #13, #14, #16 and #17 to card his second 67 of the tournament.
He moved up to No. 3 in the Race to Dubai standings with the Final Series close at hand.
After recording no fewer than five birdies in any of the first three rounds, Johnson had zero on Sunday. He bogeyed #1 and #2, then parred the next nine holes. Three more bogeys between 12 and 16 sent him out of the top spot on the leaderboard.