One of the PGA Tour’s worst ideas is to run this cross-over season golf in direct competition with the NFL
No one will watch, no one cares all that much, really.
But over in Turkey, early Sunday morning, there was the perfect prelim to a day of NFL football.
It is called The European Tour, it’s in the homestretch for the Race To Dubai and the final round at the Regnum Carya Resort was a treat thanks to world-class player Justin Rose and an incredible supporting cast of would-be winners of this year’s Turkish Airlines Open.
You might recall that Rose put on a remarkable display last week at the HSBC Champions when he ran down world’s No. 1 Dustin Johnson, came from eight back to blow by D.J. and get a WGC win.
That victory moved sixth-ranked Rose to third in the overall Race To Dubai and made him one of the guys to watch in Turkey.
Nicolas Colsaerts blew the field away for 36-holes before he shot 73 in the third round and turned the 54-hole lead over to Shane Lowry and the portly Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
Sunday morning is when it got thrilling.
After a massive jockeying for position on the front nine, a half-dozen players were in position to win over the final nine.
There was Dylan Fritelli of South Africa, a total underdog with one European Tour win. Rose was right there, same for Colsaerts who was rallying. Overnight leaders Lowry and Aphibarnrat were in the thick of it and defending champion Thorbjorn Olesen was making a back nine move. So was Paddy Harrington, who has developed some quirky habits like lifting his left foot on his backswing and playing a bunch of shots with his tongue poking out the left corner of his mouth. Crazy.
There was more craziness over the final half-dozen holes.
Lowry and Aphibarnrat couldn’t cut it, they bowed out. Olesen would run out of holes, couldn’t make enough birdies.
It would come down to Rose, Fritelli and Colsaerts. Fritelli made five straight front-nine birdies then added three more coming home, including one at the 18th that got him to 17-under and tied with Rose for the lead.
Colsaerts went on a run with three straight — 15, 16 and 17. Rose birdied 15 and 16.
With Fritelli in the clubhouse at 17-under, Rose and Colsaerts stood on the 72nd tee, both at 17-under.
Both found the fairway, then both hit incredible second shots into the 455-yard par four.
Rose was about 13 feet away, Colsaerts just eight feet for birdie.
You’ve seen this before. First one in wins.
Rose knew it, Colsaerts probably knew it too.
Rose calmly buried his birdie putt to post 18, leaving Colsaerts looking pretty nervous.
First one in won.
Rose picked up his second win in as many weeks, his first victories since winning in New Orleans a couple of years ago.
“It’s like a bus,” Rose said afterward. “You wait ages for one and then two turn up at once!”
Back-to-back makes Rose the hottest man on the planet, hottest guy in the Race To Dubai.
He’ll skip this coming week’s Nebank Challenge, he’s earned a short rest before the WP World in two weeks in Dubai — the biggie.
Rose is right there breathing hard down Tommy Fleetwood’s neck.
Fleetwood now has a very narrow lead.
And Rose, who said a few weeks ago that he would need to win at least two of the final four to have a chance in this Race To Dubai, did exactly that.
The Race just got a lot more interesting.