Cape Town – Justin Rose has a return to world No 1 in his sights as the Englishman defends his title at this week’s Turkish Open, the sixth Rolex Series event of the 2018 Race to Dubai.
The world No 2 claimed his second successive win at the Regnum Carya Golf and Spa Resort last year when he followed up his WGC-HSBC Champions victory with a one-stroke triumph over Nicolas Colsaerts and Dylan Frittelli in Belek.
“It’s a pretty similar situation to last year in some ways. There have been a lot of top tens coming into this week, which makes you feel like you’re playing well. You’re in contention and on the leaderboard and you’re looking for that little kick to get over the finish line,” said Rose.
“World No 1 is an added thing to think about, obviously. That’s not going to help me to win the tournament. I’ve got to keep it and run my routines and try and keep it simple. That’s how you play your best golf. I always play my best golf by stripping away thoughts rather than by adding them, so I have to be careful how I frame them this week.”
Only a win would do this week if Rose is to return to the summit of the Official World Golf Ranking, but with four top tens in his last five European Tour appearances – including a share of third in China last week – the Olympic Golf Gold Medalist is in confident mood.
Tommy Fleetwood, meanwhile, is also targeting a number one spot of his own over the next three weeks – in the Race the Dubai – as he chases down the sizeable lead of his close friend, Open champion Francesco Molinari.
“I think things are going very well. I’m playing some very consistent golf and I’m doing a lot of good things. Said a couple of times now, unfortunately, I’ve done too many bad things at the right times,” said Fleetwood.
Fleetwood is also on superb form, with three top tens in his last three events, and has played every Turkish Open since its inauguration in 2013.
“I just need to make a faster start if I’m going to contend at all. I do like the course. I like the way a lot of the shots set up. For the most part, the weekends I’ve had have showed that I can play well around here. I just need to try and do that more often,” he said.
The Turkish Open kicks off the final stretch of Rolex Series events, the European Tour’s eight premium tournaments each with a minimum prize fund of $ 7million, as the 2018 Race to Dubai nears a conclusion, with only the Nedbank Golf Challenge and the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, remaining before the European Tour No 1 is crowned.