Justin Rose is the current World Number One in the Official World Golf Ranking.
PHOTO BY SUPPLIED
JEDDAH – Justin Rose, the current world No.1, has revealed he is focused on maintaining his “dream start” to the season with victory in the inaugural Saudi International powered by SBIA, which starts on Thursday (January 31) at Royal Greens Golf & Country in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC).
Rose, who won the Farmers Insurance Open on the PGA Tour at Torrey Pinneys in San Diego last week, revealed he is just getting started.
“The last time I won in January was 2002, so it’s definitely a dream start to the season. I’m ready for a big year in 2019. I’ve been saying for a year or two that I’m in the prime of my career. Now is a time for me to really go on and achieve what I hope are my dreams,” said Rose, who is grouped with world No.2 Brooks Koepka and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson for the tournament’s opening two rounds. The trio tee-off at 7.55am from hole 10, a 372-yard Par 4, on Thursday.
With Koepka and two other players in the world’s top five joining head boy Rose at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), on Saudi’s picturesque Red Sea coastline, the Englishman revealed the stunning strength of this week’s field was a key factor in his decision to add the Saudi International powered by SBIA to his schedule.
“The field was one of the big reasons that attracted me to the tournament. Any time you have the opportunity to play against the best players in the world, it brings added inspiration and that’s a big goal this week,” said Rose, who is eager to twin rankings glory and success in golf’s four majors this year.
“When you are playing against the best in the world, at a tournament like this, the world No.1 ranking is on your mind and it will be extra motivation, but my primary focus this year are the majors. The world No.1 is a nice thing to have and the bigger lead you can build, the better.”
Big-hitting world No.3 Dustin Johnson revealed his intention to battle Rose for Saudi honours and world ranking superiority this week. The American will play the first two rounds with Europeans Matt Wallace and Sergio Garcia, starting at 12.25pm on the 361-yard 1st hole on Thursday.
“It’s kind of been a battle to be at the top for a while now,” said Johnson. “There’s so many great players and you’ve got to bring your game every single week if you want to stay at No. 1. I’m definitely looking to challenge Rosey for the top spot.”
In other tournament news, the Saudi International powered by SBIA Pro-Am – where professionals play a one-day competition with amateurs invited by tournament organisers – was won by a team captained by David Lipsky, which finished an impressive 39-under par, some four shots ahead of the team skippered by Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño. GAD/Expat Media
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