World Number Five Justin Rose will tee it up in the opening round of the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai on Thursday hoping that history doesn’t repeat itself as he goes in search of his first Race to Dubai crown.
Three years ago, Rose had the title ripped from his grasp thanks to a stunning blitz of five consecutive birdies by Rory McIlroy – and with McIlroy leading this year’s Race to Dubai, the Englishman is expecting another classic battle with the World Number Three over the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
“Obviously Rory, Henrik Stenson and I have great records here and all of us have played incredibly well at this venue over the last few years,” said Rose, who sits in third place behind McIlroy and England’s Danny Willett in The Race to Dubai standings.
“In 2102, I remember being two shots ahead playing the last and Rory was a few holes behind me. It’s very rare you’re two ahead, make birdie on the last and lose but he birdied the last five to win.
“There’s a fair chance one of us is going to be up there come Sunday and I certainly fancy my chances. The way I see it is if I win the tournament then I will be very unlucky not to win The Race to Dubai. I’ve done my job getting to this point with a great chance of winning it all.”
If Rose, who holds the course record with a 62 from that final round in 2012, were to win the season-ending US$8 million tournament, the 35 year-old would also win The Race to Dubai should both McIlroy and Willet finish worse than tied for second.
Also in with a chance of lifting the coveted title of European Number One is Ireland’s Shane Lowry who will go out with Rose in the penultimate pairing of the opening day at 12.30pm.
“Knowing that I need to go out and win the tournament this week means this is like no other normal week for me,” said Lowry, World Number 18 and winner of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational earlier this year.
“I’ve also done well here in the past and shot some good scores. I think generally you need to shoot about 20-under par to win and there’s no reason why I can’t do that this week. I played lovely in the Pro-Am so I just need to go out tomorrow and do the same.”
Last year, the Irishman enjoyed his best ever finish at the DP World Tour Championship – fifth place – but knows he needs to do much better if he is to win his first-ever Race to Dubai. A Lowry win coupled with McIlroy and Willett finishing worse than a two-way tie for second would cap a great week for Irish sport.
“I watched Ireland beat Bosnia to qualify for the Euros so I was very happy for the lads,” smiled Lowry. “I met up with Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane before they played Gibraltar – when you know people and see them doing well it makes it a whole lot sweeter. Hopefully I can keep the celebrations going this Sunday, go out there and win the tournament and do enough to win The Race to Dubai.”
Play in the opening round of the DP World Tour Championship gets underway at 7.40am with Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher and Alejandro Canizares of Spain on the first tee.
General admission at Jumeirah Golf Estates is free of charge and can be obtained by registering online at www.DPWorldTourChampionship.com.