Justin Rose looks to enhance ascent to No. 1 with FedEx Cup Playoffs crown

NEWTOWN SQUARE, PA - SEPTEMBER 10: Justin Rose of England waves his ball to the crowd on the 17th green during the weather delayed final round of the BMW Championship at Aronimink Golf Club on September 10, 2018 in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Justin Rose looks to enhance ascent to No. 1 with FedEx Cup Playoffs crown

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Justin Rose looks to enhance ascent to No. 1 with FedEx Cup Playoffs crown

In coming up short, Justin Rose ascended to the greatest peak of his career.

The 38-year-old Englishman lost out to Keegan Bradley in a BMW Championship playoff and reached World No. 1 for the first time thanks to his solo-second finish.

Rose also finished second behind Bryson DeChambeau at the Dell Technologies in Boston and is No. 2 in the FedEx Cup Playoffs standings entering this week’s Tour Championship. That gives him a good chance for another career first at East Lake, where a victory this week would provide the FedEx Cup title and $10 million bonus.

“Hate to round out the season with three seconds, but that could be good enough next week,” Rose said. “Good couple weeks. What can I say?”

Rose remains in control of his own destiny and is one of five players along with DeChambeau, Tony Finau, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas who automatically win the Cup with a victory at East Lake.

The Tour is using a different scoring format beginning in 2019, and this is the last year a player could potentially win the Tour Championship but not the FedEx Cup. Rose’s two-win season and strong playoff push have him in great position to accomplish both.

“No. 2 is an incredible spot to be in,” Rose said. “It’s a week that there’s many scenarios in play. I think when you go in there 15th, 16th, 17th, you know you have to win, and then you have to hope for a ton of other things to happen.”

DeChambeau already had the No. 1 position locked up before the BMW thanks to back-to-back wins to start the postseason. That made him an easy choice as a captain’s pick for the U.S. Ryder Cup team, and DeChambeau chose not to skip the third of four playoff events and finished T-19 in Philadelphia.

That makes it three wins on the year for DeChambeau, who along with Rose has been the class of the postseason with one week to go.

“Winning two in a row is a lot more than I thought it would be, mentally and physically,” DeChambeau said. “But it’s really an honor, and I want to keep doing it. This is new territory for me, and I’m learning how to navigate the waters.”

While this will be DeChambeau’s first appearance at East Lake, Rose finished top-10 or better in each of his last five starts there.

It’ll be the third trip for Thomas, who could become the first back-to-back FedEx Cup winner with a victory in Atlanta. And this year we’ll see the return of Tiger Woods, the 2007 and 2009 champion and only multi-time Cup winner in its 12-year history.

Woods finished T-6 at the BMW to secure his spot and move up to 20th in the points standings. The 42-year-old didn’t win this year but contended in two of the four majors and racked up six top-10s in his first full season since 2013.

“Played a few tournaments where I was close at the end,” Woods said. “At the end of the season here, to say that I made it back to the Tour Championship after what I’ve been through is a pretty good accomplishment.”

Woods held the World No. 1 ranking for an astonishing 683 weeks combined throughout the prime of his career. He began the year ranked No. 666 and moved to No. 21 over the course of eight months.

Now he and everyone else are looking up at Rose, who played at a high level for 20 years before finally claiming the top spot. He was a little bummed after missing a chance to win in Philadelphia, but there’s still a lot to look forward to.

“To get to World No. 1 is unbelievable,” Rose said. “It’s something I can say now in my career I’ve been the best player in the world. I’ve been to the top of the game. That’s definitely some consolation. I just wish I could have enjoyed the moment, maybe.”

Luckily for Rose, there’s a $10 million opportunity this week, and he’s played well enough to give it a serious run.

Now that would be a moment worth savoring. Gwk

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