Koepka clinches year-end No. 1 as Rose falters

Brooks Koepka will finish 2018 as the No. 1-ranked player in the world after England’s Justin Rose posted his worst round of the year Sunday with an opportunity to claim the top spot in the final round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, the defending champion at Jakarta Golf Club, entered the final week of tournaments 0.402 points behind Koepka. With the American idle, Rose needed a two-way tie for 16th or better to close the year atop the world rankings for the first time.

That opportunity began to slip through Rose’s grasp when he opened Sunday’s final round 3-over par through two holes. He carded a 39 on the front nine, then negated a birdie on No. 10 with a triple bogey on the par-5 12th.

Justin Rose
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Rose ended up posting a 3-over 75 – one shot worse than the three 74s that had marked his worst rounds of the year entering this week.

It was a disappointing end to a fantastic 2018 for Rose, who twice ascended to No. 1 in the world, won the FedEx Cup, was part of Team Europe’s dominating Ryder Cup victory and entered this week no finishing no worse than eighth in any of his past seven worldwide starts dating back to August.

Rose was the defending champion in Jakarta, having gone wire-to-wire for an eight-shot victory last year. After opening with consecutive rounds of 68, he appeared well on his way toward securing that coveted year-end No. 1 ranking.

Even after a mediocre 71 on Saturday, Rose was in great shape for the top spot entering the final round in a share of fourth place. That quickly began to unravel on the front nine.

By the time he knocked his approach shot on No. 17 to tap in range, that only got Rose back to 4 over on a round that included a triple, a double and three bogies against an Asian Tour field that he dominated with a 29-under winning score last year.

Thailand’s Poom Saksansin posted the winning score this year with a 20-under.

Too little, too late

Rose needed an eagle on the final hole to give himself a mathematical chance to overtake Koepka, and he gave himself a chance by reaching the par-5 18th hole in two shots despite whipping wind conditions. But he pushed the putt well left before converting the birdie.

Even three birdies over his final five holes wasn’t enough to erase the damage done earlier.

Meanwhile, Koepka added another cherry on top of his own career year.

The former Florida State star who traveled the world building his golf resume before earning his PGA Tour card will finish 2018 on top of the world rankings after defending his U.S. Open title and winning his first PGA Championship.

–Field Level Media