Justin Rose targets title defence after near-miss at WGC

Justin Rose targets title defence after near-miss at WGC

In the blink of an eye he was another three shots to the good as he started his back nine with a flourish, a final birdie at his last hole completing an impressive day for the Masters champion. Then at the par-5 18th, both players birdied, sending them back to 18 for the playoff.

Reed posted a bogey-free, 8-under-par 64 and is two strokes ahead of Tony Finau and Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State in breezy conditions at Sheshan International Golf Club http://www.sheshangolf.com/en/ in Shanghai, China. He shared second at the Open Championship in July and claimed top-10 finishes at the final two play-off events in the U.S. before helping Europe regain the Ryder Cup in France.

World number one Brooks Koepka had a mixed day on the course, with the American carding an even par round of 72.

Rose, the 2018 Fedex Cup champion, overhauled an eight-shot deficit to win the tournament past year and so will still have hope of retaining the title and dethroning Brooks Koepka as world No. 1.

Finau had led by three overnight at 11 under, but was two over through 12 on Saturday and saw Rose - who is looking to become only the second man after Tiger Woods to retain a World Golf Championships title - take charge at the top of the leaderboard.

Dustin Johnson wouldn't figure to contribute to that opportunity.

He ran his eagle putt 3 feet by and made that for birdie. He was 14 shots behind.

He is joined on the score by Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy.

Finau kept motoring along, as he has been doing the last few months.

Now the 19-year-old is not only playing on the weekend for the first time on the PGA Tour, he's in contention. He had 11 top 10s last season. I'm playing well, feeling good.

But the real collapse came from Rose, who had led since a short birdie on the seventh hole and appeared to be in complete control of his game.

"The issue's obviously with Jordan not wanting to play with me", he told the New York Times after the USA were thrashed by Europe in Paris. "I didn't give up and that's always my mentality, just keep fighting until the end".

If Xiong, who turns 20 on November 9, triumphs Sunday, he would become only the second teenager to win on the PGA Tour since 1931.

Rose benefitted from a final-round collapse in Shanghai a year ago by Dustin Johnson to come from eight strokes back for the win.

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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