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Two Brits to Square off in Turkish Final Match
Justin Rose beat Tiger Woods in one semifinal of the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final, while fellow Brit Lee Westwood overcame Charl Schwartzel of South Africa en route to setting a new course record. On Friday Rose and Westwood will vie for the $1.5 million top prize in the $5.2-million, eight-player exhibition at Atalya Golf Club.
Rose carded a 2-under 69 to edge Woods, who posted a 70 in the medal match-play format. Woods had a chance to force a sudden-death playoff, but missed his 15-foot birdie try on the 18th hole.
"It was a great day," said Rose, who beat Webb Simpson Thursday morning with a course-record 62. "It was an ugly match until the end. It was hard to come out and get a rhythm going this afternoon for the both of us. It felt like the Ryder Cup to be honest, the transition between morning and afternoon felt difficult there and today.
"There's also a lot more noise and kerfuffle when playing with Tiger, but I hung in there and tried to draw upon the fast finishes I've had of late and got a stroke of luck on 14. I just had to look up and give Tiger a wry smile, there's not much you can do about that," said of holing out his wedge shot.
Westwood broke Rose's new course record with a 10-under 61 in beating Schwartzel by six strokes to reach the finale. "It was just one of those days where I got on a roll and the hole started to look bigger and that's not happened for a while," said Westwood.
"I'm just pleased to be playing well and getting back in the swing of things after the Ryder Cup, with no hangover from that."
Woods appreciated his time in Turkey and liked the tournament. "It's a neat format because it's never over until the end, but it's frustrating that I lost two matches by one shot and just did not play well enough to win those matches," he said.
Earlier on Thursday, Wood got into the semifinal with Rose after his 64 beat Rory McIlroy by six; Schwartzel's 63 beat Matt Kuchar's 65; and Westwood's 64 edged Hunter Mahan's 69.
McIlroy, the No. 1-ranked player in the world, admitted later that he viewed the Turkish event as a somewhat of a vacation. He was accompanied at the tournament by his girlfriend, Caroline Wozniacki. "I've treated this week as it's great to come here, nice weather, play a bit of golf, I get to spend some time with Caroline - I viewed it as a week like that. I didn't touch a club until the first day," the 23-year-old Northern Irishman said.
McIlroy will soon return his focus to retaining his lead in the European's Race to Dubai, which is emblematic of that tour's top money earner at season's end. He'll take next week off and hopes to join Wozniacki at her tennis tournament in Moscow. "I have still got some big events left and I would love to win the Race to Dubai, so I am going to give it one last push."
McIlroy is hoping to match Luke Donald's 2011 feat as the first-ever player to win the money titles on the PGA and European tours. "It has been a great season and I am ready to be done," said McIlroy. "It is just such a long season these days, but I feel I have got an obligation to play some big events leading up to Dubai."