As twice-defending champion, Justin Rose is bidding to join a list of European Tour greats as he returns to the Turkish Airlines Open – the sixth Rolex Series event of the 2019 Race to Dubai.

If he were to successfully defend his title for the second year in a row, the Englishman would join Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie and Ian Woosnam as the only players to achieve the feat of winning a non-Major or WGC event in three consecutive years.

The 2013 U.S. Open Champion and 2016 Olympic Gold Medallist finished one stroke ahead of Nicolas Colsaerts and Dylan Frittelli in 2017, before defeating Li Haotong in a play-off last year to defend a title for the first time in his career.

But, as the 2019 Race to Dubai nears its climax, the Englishman faces stiff competition at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal as the fight to become European Number One continues.

Rose will play alongside current Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex leader Bernd Wiesberger and reigning Open Champion Shane Lowry, who sits in third on the Rankings, for the first round.

Wiesberger, a winner of two Rolex Series events this season after his return from a wrist injury – the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open and Italian Open – leads the standings by just over 300 points with just three events to play. 

The winner of this event will receive 1,500 points, with the winners of the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player and DP World Tour Championship, Dubai receiving 1,665 and 2,000 points respectively.

Rose said: “You don't get the opportunity to do that very often, so three-peat would clearly be a first for me. There’s a great list of players to maybe join on the European Tour, I believe it's Monty, Faldo and Ian Woosnam – really illustrious company.

“Turkey has been a wonderful spot for me. I've been lucky to play well here every time I've been, going back to 2012. Played this venue in 2013, had my worst finish, third, so I need to step that up to keep my current record going. 

“It's an exciting week for me, obviously trying to go three in a row which is something I've never done in my career. I guess that's the focus but also, you can never really approach a tournament that way. I've got to try and take care of business, make sure I'm prepared and get my game in good shape and then commit to the plan.

“I'm driving the ball quite well at the moment, probably my highlight of the game at the minute along with my putting. If I can get my mid-irons going and maybe some 5-woods and long irons into the par 5s and try to take advantage of them, obviously set up some low scoring. Always in Turkey, the weather is perfect, which generally leads to low scores.”

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