Justin Rose targets majors after reclaiming No. 1 spot

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ANTALYA, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 04: Justin Rose of England lines up a putt during the final day of The Turkish Airlaines golf on November 4, 2018 in Antalya, Turkey. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

He returned to world No. 1 with victory in Turkey, but now Justin Rose has his eye on more major trophies next year.

The Englishman beat China’s Haotong Li in a playoff to successfully defend his Turkish Airlines Open title and in the process leapfrogged American Brooks Koepka at the top of the world rankings.

Li led by three shots heading into the final day in Antalya, but Rose fired a final-round 68 to force a sudden-death playoff after the pair tied at 17 under.

It was Li who cracked under the pressure, three-putting from just nine feet to gift Rose the title.

Following the victory — the first title defense of his 20-year career — Rose said he now wants to emulate the likes of Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington by winning major titles as he approaches his 40s.

“More majors for sure, that’s what I’m interested in,” said the 38-year-old Rose. “I’m trying to chase down as many as I can.

“You’ve seen players like Phil and Padraig have hot spells towards the end of their careers where they have amassed two or three really quickly.

“If I was able to do that on the top of what I’ve already achieved, it would make things really good, so very much focusing on the majors … maybe not playing too much and playing as fresh as I can for those.”

Rose’s sole major triumph to date is the 2013 US Open when he finished two shots clear of Mickelson and Jason Day at Merion. He lost a playoff to Sergio Garcia at the Masters last year and also finished tied second behind Italian Francesco Molinari at the Open at Carnoustie in July.

But three top-four finishes in September and third at the World Golf Championship event in October suggest more major silverware could be just around the corner.

Rose first became world No.1 on September 10 despite losing a playoff to American Keegan Bradley at the BMW Championship.

He spent two weeks at the head of the rankings and sealed the $10 million FedEx Cup title at the season-ending Tour Championship, which was won by Tiger Woods for his first victory in five years.

However, long-time world No.1 Dustin Johnson’s third place at East Lake took him back to the top of the rankings before he in turn was usurped by Koepka, the US Open and US PGA champion this year.

But Rose’s victory in Turkey — the 23rd title of his career — took him back to golf’s summit for the second time.

“It’s really nice to be back at world No. 1,” said Rose. “That’s just something to be proud of. It certainly doesn’t make you one under par on the first tee the next time you play, but it’s something to be proud of for sure.

“I’m heading home now, which is exciting. I’m sure we will re-toast getting to No. 1, and this time I’ve got some silverware.

“Last time it was muted because I was still so mad at not winning the tournament at the BMW, but this time I’ve got the double-kind-of-winning feeling, so it might be a bit more fun to celebrate it at this time.”

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