Rose lets rip in Race to Dubai showdown

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Englishman tied for second on 66, seven clear of Fleetwood

Rose lets rip in Race to Dubai showdown

Dubai,November 17 – Justin Rose shot an opening six-under-par 66 to finish tied for second, seven shots clear of his Race to Dubai rival Tommy Fleetwood, in the first round of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship on Thursday.

Just over 250,000 points separate the two Englishmen, with Fleetwood in front and Rose challenging.

Rose needs to finish no worse than solo fifth in order to have any chance of overtaking Fleetwood at the last hurdle in the European Tour season, whereas Fleetwood just needs to equal or better Rose’s finishing position in order to take the overall season’s honour.

After the first round though, with Rose having run amok, and Fleetwood languishing back in tied for 46th position on one-over-par 73, it seems an upset, which was given only a 24 per cent chance of happening pre-tournament, is most definitely on the cards.

“There’s only two things to think about this week: winning the tournament and winning the Race to Dubai,” said Rose, who shot two outward birdies and a bogey before returning with three birdies and an eagle on 14.

“I know if I do one of those, the first one, then the second one happens. I’ve just got to try and put together a really good final three rounds and do what I always do.

“Some weeks it happens, some weeks it doesn’t, but right now things are certainly feeling a bit easier than they normally do.

“I know the scenarios for the most part,” he said of the permutations to win the Race to Dubai. “But my job is to take those scenarios out and just try to win the tournament. Let’s just tee it up tomorrow and keep going.

“One shot at a time. You know, like all these tournaments, you can’t win them on a Thursday, you can only lose them, and you can’t win them tomorrow or Saturday. I just have to keep myself in position.”

Fleetwood endured a torrid round starting with a double bogey before a bogey, birdie, eagle, combination on the front nine, and three bogies sandwiching two birdies after the turn.

“There’s a bit of nerves there, there’s always going to be. I’ve never been in this position before,” he said. “It all comes down to this at the end of the year and I’m playing for like the biggest achievement in my career essentially.

“As of right now it’s kind of out of my hands after that start, but you never know what can happen. There are three rounds to go, that’s the luxury of four rounds of golf, I’ve got three more to go, so let’s see what happens.

“I’ve been in similar situations over the past few weeks where I’ve not had a great first round but sort of climbed the leaderboard steadily. So, I’ll just go out tomorrow and do my best.”

Sergio Garcia, who needs to win the event and hope Rose finishes worse than fourth and Fleetwood outside the top 20 in order to win the Race to Dubai, is tied for 21st after shooting an opening two-under 70.

Courtesy : Gulf News

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