Rose holds firm to beat Bjerregaard to Hong Kong title

Sport360 staff 16:30 25/10/2015
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Rose with his Hong Kong trophy.

World number seven Justin Rose needed all his experience Sunday to win a tight battle against Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard and triumph in the Hong Kong Open by just one shot.

Former US Open winner Rose started the final day tied for the lead with 285th-ranked Bjerregaard, but a double bogey by the young Dane late in the round derailed his challenge.

Englishman Rose, 35, is the first from his country to win the tournament since Ian Poulter in 2010. He finished with a 17 under par 263, which could see him bumped up to fifth in the world rankings.

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RECAP: Rose and Bjerregaard to do battle

The unheralded Bjerregaard, aged 24, finished just one shot behind him with a 16 under par 264.

"I'm absolutely delighted to come out on top today," Rose told reporters after the tournament, which was also his first European Tour victory on Asian soil. "Starting the day, there was obviously Lucas and I ahead of the pack and that's very much how it finished, so it really turned out to be a head-to-head battle between myself and Lucas."

Rose remained patient in the final, even when he dropped a shot on the par-four 9th and Bjerregaard jumped into the lead by two with a birdie.

The Englishman made a comeback on the back nine after the par-four 14th when Bjerregaard hit the ball into the trees and then three-putted for the double bogey.

By the 18th Rose was two strokes ahead, and even had the luxury of three-putting the last par-four hole, laughing as the crowds cheered him on.

"It was tight the whole day… I just kept my nose in front right at the end," he said. "I had a lot of good putts from 14… that was the turning point."

Bjerregaard, who had led for much of the first half, said he was happy with the way he played and Rose was a tough competitor.

"It was fun to battle with Justin these last two days, it's guys like him I want to compete against. At least I gave him a bit of a scare," he said.

Aside from the 14th, he added that he had kept his cool for much of the day.

"I was more nervous last night just thinking about going out and playing against him."

Tied for third place were Soomin Lee, Patrick Reed, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Jason Scrivener — all finishing with an 11 under par 269.

Korea's Yang Yong-Eun, the only Asian-born man to win a major, came joint seventh alongside Lin Wen-tang, Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Anirban Lahiri and Matt Ford.

Rose's European Ryder Cup teammates Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter, both of whom had been hoping for strong performances, ended with five and six under par respectively, putting McDowell in tied 24th place and Poulter in joint 29th overall.

It was particularly disappointing for Poulter, who had to win in Hong Kong if he wanted to qualify for the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai. He had made a mad dash to Hong Kong to retain his European Tour membership.

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