Justin Rose shot a final-round 3-under 68 and then edged Haotong Li in a playoff to win the 2018 Turkish Airlines Open.
The Englishman, who started the day three shots behind Chinese Li, moved to a two-shot advantage with just four to play, but a bogey-bogey finish by Rose sent the tournament into overtime.
On the first playoff hole (the par-4 18th), both players missed makeable birdie putts, but Li (71) then missed a follow-up tap-in par, handing Rose a second-consecutive TAO trophy.
“It’s taken me 20 years to defend a title, I guess, so that’s great,” said Rose.
“I’ve had some pressure-packed Sundays of late, dare I say, coming away with consolation prizes in a way. World Number One after losing in a playoff, finishing fourth but winning the FedExCup.
“I was keenly aware I wanted to get back in the winner’s circle and it was good to get it done today. The fun thing is I still feel like there’s improvement to be had and that’s what I’m looking for.
“I’m really looking forward to the offseason to still work at a few things and still get better. I think that’s the exciting part, at 38, I still feel like there is improvement to be achieved.
“More Majors, that’s what I’m interested in, trying to chase down as many as I can.”
Despite the heartbreaking nature of his loss, Li was all class afterwards.
“A tough day for me, honestly,” said Li. “The playoff, I saw that ball definitely go in. I think I played well the whole week but didn’t hole a few putts on the last and that was it.
“It’s a pretty good round, especially against Rosey who’s such a nice guy. Hopefully next time I can play better.”
The victory sends the 38-year old Rose back to the top of the Official World Golf Rankings.
Belgian Thomas Detry and Spaniard Adrian Otaegui both signed for rounds of 65 to sit two shots out of the playoff at 15 under.
Dane Lucas Bjerregaard (67) and German Martin Kaymer (66) were at 14 under, a shot clear Englishmen Tommy Fleetwood (69) and Danny Willett (70), and another Dane in Thorbjorn Olesen (71).
2018 Turkish Airlines Open
Final Round: The Top 5
Pos-Player-To Par (Today)
1. Justin Rose -17 (-3)
2. Li Haotong -17 (-1)
3. Adrian Otaugui -15 (-6)
3. Thomas Detry -15 (-6)
5. Martin Kaymer -14 (-5)
5. Lucas Bjerregaard -14 (-4)
Top-3 Check Cashers
1. Justin Rose – $1,166,600
2. Haotong Li – $780,000
3. Thomas Detry – $395,175
3. Adrian Otaegui – $395,175
Rose’s Winning Stats
Driving: 302.5 yards (18th)
Fairways: 40/56, 71.4% (14th)
Greens: 58/72, 80.6% (8th)
Putts/GIR: 1.713 (19th)