Justin Rose kisses the Turkish Open trophy to record a second title in two weeks. Photo: @EuropeanTour via Twitter

ANTALYA, Turkey – In a high quality, thrilling back-nine battle, South African-born Englishman Justin Rose edged out true blue local lad Dylan Frittelli and Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts by a solitary stroke to seal victory in the $7-million Turkish Airlines Open on Sunday.

Rose closed with a six-under 65 for 18-under 266 at the tree-lined Regnum Carya Golf and Spa Resort, Frittelli had a day’s best 64, which included a fist pump and a “come on!” yell as he holed for birdie at the last for a 267 total, and Colsaerts posted 66 for the same 72-hole aggregate.

Although victory belonged to the 37-year-old Rose, and follows his WGC-HSBC triumph eight days ago, 27-year-old Frittelli once again showed South Africa in 2017 that he is a player of immense stature.

This joint second place in one of the premium Rolex Series events on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, goes with his maiden European Tour win in the Lyoness Open in Austria in June, and second place in the big-money Volvo China Open before that.

Remarkably, Frittelli chipped in for birdie three times on the front nine in his 64, In fact, those shots gained were in a run of five straight birdies as he raced through the par-34 outward loop in just 29 strokes.

“I also chipped in twice in round three, so something definitely clicked in that department of my game this week,” he said.

“I mean, who needs to putt when you can chip straight in! I’m proud of the fact that I played well under pressure all week, and hit a lot of shots close.”

Frittelli is a ball-striker of the highest calibre and on the back nine on Sunday, he hit three superb approaches inside 10 feet, but each time the birdie putt refused to drop.

When he did hole from a similar distance for a three at the last it put him temporarily upfront with Rose and Colsaerts, who were in the group behind him.

Then Rose also birdied 18 for the win, as the gallery roared their approval. He later paid tribute to Frittelli, with whom he was drawn in round three, describing him as an outstanding talent.

Frittelli now moves on to this week’s $7.5 million Nedbank Golf Challenge, where he will make his debut before heading to Dubai and the end-of-season DP World Tour Championship.

He was 39th in the Race to Dubai rankings ahead of Turkey, but now moves right up to 18.

“And,” he said, “if I can maintain this kind of form, maybe I can make top 10.”

For Rose, he is halfway in his bid to overhaul leader and fellow Englishman Tommy Fleetwood and win the 2017 Race to Dubai.

Rose is not playing Sun City as he has family commitments, but if he can win in Dubai, he will have achieved his objective.

Frittelli’s share of the hefty Turkish purse amounts to the equivalent of R8.5 million.

Besides Frittelli, fellow South African George Coetzee can also take some confidence into the Nedbank as he shot 66 for 278.

Haydn Porteous had 72 for 280, Richard Sterne 70 for 284, Dean Burmester 68 for 286, and Brandon Stone 76 for 292.

IOL Sport