Li Haotong overtakes Justin Rose as Shubhankar stays 53rd in Turkey


Earlier this year, Li claimed a second Tour title in denying Rory McIlroy victory in the Dubai Desert Classic. "That's the goal and I will be going to Sun City with a bit of a spring in my step".

"It's going to be an exciting day tomorrow and I'm looking forward to go against Rosey, especially in a Rolex Series Event". "I had loads of opportunities but just wasn't able to make the putts". I was two back previous year. "I don't have a go-to up on that particular hole".

"More majors", he said of his next aim after defeating Haotong Li in a play-off at the Turkish Airlines Open.

The 38-year-old spent two weeks on top of the rankings in September after losing out to Keegan Bradley in a play-off for the BMW Championship, but had been determined to get back to the summit in style with a second consecutive victory in Turkey.

"You want to win the tournament and I want to win it at all costs, but I couldn't help but be rooting for him, as well, and I couldn't help be feeling really bad for him on 18". 'It's taken me 20 years to defend a title so that's great, ' admitted Rose, who has won five times and recorded 24 top-ten finishes in his last 31 events.

"The fun thing is I still feel like there's improvement to be had and that's what I'm looking for". Of course, it could have been better. "So you just have to come out tomorrow like I did today and play well".

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But Haotong responded with the shot of the day, a remarkable long-iron over the water hazard which pitched safely on the 15th green and rolled to within two feet of the pin to set up a tap-in for eagle, and he soon found himself back in a share of the lead when Rose raced his long eagle putt seven feet past the cup and missed the return.

Rose was clearly in the zone as well, however, and he chipped in on the fifth before putting his tee shot on the sixth to three feet for a hat-trick of his own and a two-shot lead.

Li then bogeyed the 11th after missing the green with his approach and although he finally picked up his first birdie of the day on the par-5 12th, Rose did likewise to remain one ahead.

A Rose approach to three feet on the 11th was the ideal response and he holed a 15-foot putt on the 12th to get back within one before giving the shot straight back on the next after finding the bunker.

He saved par on the par-five 15th after again finding water but failed to repeat the feat on the final hole which he bogeyed to hand Li a cushion heading into Sunday's final round.