Justin Rose controlled his own destiny regarding whether he would snatch back the top spot in the World Ranking and be the last man standing at the end of a 2018 season in which five different players were once No. 1. A two-way tie for 16th or better at the Indonesian Masters, a tournament in which he won by eight strokes the previous year, would allow him to leap Brooks Koepka. A T-12 or better would mean he would remain No. 1 come Jan. 1, 2019.
In the end, Rose surprisingly achieved neither. A closing three-over 75 at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, dropped the 38-year-old Englishman from a tie for fourth place entering the final round to a three-way tie for 17th, leaving him just behind Koepka at No. 2 in the World Rankings.
Rose started slowly on Sunday, with two bogeys and a double bogey in his first five holes, but seemed to get things turned around with birdies on the ninth and 10th holes. Then came the par-5 12th hole, in which he posted a triple-bogey 8.
Another bogey on the 13th put him six over on the day, and meant that the three birdies he carded on the final five holes were too little, too late. Rose, who ended up 14 strokes back of winner Poom Saksansin of Thailand, more ignominiously finished one stroke back of the 12th-place showing needed to pass Koepka.
This wasn’t the first near-miss for Rose in claiming the top spot back for the third time in the last six weeks after becoming World No. 1 for the first time in September. Two weeks ago at the Hero World Challenge, Rose needed a tie for second. He rallied with an impressive closing 65, but when Tony Finau made a birdie on the 72nd hole to grab solo second, it left Rose just shy of passing Koepka.
Even more interesting is this nugget from Twitter’s noted World Ranking expert:
Here’s how the final top 10 for 2018 is expected to look:
1 Brooks Koepka
2. Justin Rose
3. Dustin Johnson
4. Justin Thomas
5. Bryson DeChambeau
6. Jon Rahm
7. Francesco Molinari
8. Rory McIlroy
9. Tony Finau
10. Xander Schauffele