JUSTIN Rose will aim to become the first player in almost two decades to win three consecutive European Tour tournaments when he defends his title at next month’s Turkish Airlines Open.
The Hampshire ace has been outstanding on his last two visits to Antalya, winning both the 2017 and 2018 Turkish Airlines Open titles with a combined score of 35-under par.
Rose’s relentless run next to the Mediterranean began when he won the forerunner to the Turkish Airlines Open – the eight-man Turkish Airlines World Golf Final which included Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy among five of the world’s top 10 – in 2012.
His third place at the inaugural Turkish Airlines Open in 2013 was his lowest finish in four visits to the country.
And such has been his impact on golf in the country, he was honoured with Turkey’s Distinguished Service Award for his charity work by Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Mevlüt Çavasoglu in 2017.
Now in its seventh edition, the tournament returns to Antalya’s Montgomerie Maxx Royal, which hosted the first three Turkish Airlines Opens.
Rose will attempt to become just the fourth player – and the first since Colin Montgomerie in 2000 – to win three successive European Tour tournaments.
World No. 7 Rose, whose two wins came at Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort, said: “I’ve enjoyed a great run at the Turkish Airlines Open and have a lot of happy memories of Antalya, on, and off, the course.
“Myself and my family love it there and the welcome is always so warm,” said the member at Fleet’s North Hants Golf Club.
Rose added: “I had never won two consecutive times at the same tournament before, let alone three, so that would be incredible.
“But you can’t take anything for granted in golf. It will be a strong field as always and I’ll just prepare as well as I can and try to be in the mix on Sunday.
“We’re back at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal this year. I remember it being a great course and venue – and I’m sure it will be another superb tournament.”
The Turkish Airlines Open takes place on November 7-10 and is the sixth installment of the European Tour’s Rolex Series, the premium category of tournaments on the Race to Dubai.
As well as its backing for its national open, Turkish Airlines also supports the Challenge Tour’s Turkish Airlines Challenge as well as the Turkish Airlines World Golf Cup, its unrivalled amateur series.
Chief marketing officer Ahmet Olmuştur said: “Turkish Airlines is delighted Justin Rose will be back in Antalya to defend his Turkish Airlines Open title.
“He has set new standards here and it will take an impressive performance from anyone to take the trophy away from him.
“We are now in our seventh year as one of Europe’s biggest tournaments and excitement is building for another great week at the Mongomerie Maxx Royal.”
Turkish Golf Federation president Ahmet Ağaoğlu, said: “Justin is central to the Turkish Airlines Open story and it is an honour to be welcoming him back to Turkey once again.
“He has been one of the best players in the world for so long and is a great ambassador for the sport.
“I am certain that once again he will be a key figure in a brilliant tournament.”