After waiting 20 years to get to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, Justin Rose reached the pinnacle of golf's ranking ladder on Sunday when he successfully defended his title at the 2018 Turkish Airlines Open.
Rose beat Haotong Li in a one-hole playoff at the Regnum Carya Golf and Spa Resort in Antalya, Turkey. Rose made par on the 18th hole, the site of the only playoff hole, and then China's Li missed a 30-inch putt to extend the extra session.
The win marks the first time in Rose's career he's successfully defended a title. It also caps off a year-long run since the 2017 PGA Championship with career-best results. In his last 31 starts, Rose has five wins, four other second-place finishes, 15 total top-five finishes and 24 total top-10 finishes.
Since missing the cut at the 2017 PGA Championship, Justin Rose's record is bonkers:
15 total top-5s
24 total top-10s
— Ryan Ballengee (@RyanBallengee) November 4, 2018
With the win, Rose earned enough Official World Golf Ranking points to surpass Brooks Koepka, who was inactive this week, for the No. 1 ranking.
Rose first became No. 1 in the world when he lost in a playoff to Keegan Bradley at the BMW Championship, the third leg of the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup playoffs in September. Despite winning the FedEx Cup at the Tour Championship, Rose lost the No. 1 ranking to Dustin Johnson when Tiger Woods emerged victorious in the PGA Tour's season-ending event.
“I've had some pressure-packed Sundays of late, dare I say, coming away with consolation prizes in a way," Rose said after his win. "World No. 1 after losing in a playoff, finishing fourth but winning the FedEx Cup. I was keenly aware I wanted to get back in the winner's circle and it was good to get it done today."
Koepka had been No. 1 in the world since winning the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges.
Rose's second reign atop the Official World Golf Ranking will be short, however. Koepka should regain No. 1 in the world next week, as he will drop a tournament from his ranking divisor. Koepka played in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in 2016, and he did not this year, meaning he has one less tournament counting in his average equation. Rose is not set to play in the Nedbank Golf Challenge on the European Tour, so he can't pick up points through an extra event to retain his top ranking.
While hovering around No. 1 is nice, Rose has his goals set toward adding to his 2013 US Open victory.
“More majors, that's what I'm interested in," Rose said, "trying to chase down as many as I can.”