Defending the Roll of Honour

Chuah Choo Chiang talks to the defending WGC-HSBC Champion about his triumph last year

Justin Rose plays his shot during the 2017 WGC-HSBC Champions

Headline writers all over the world have enjoyed a field day since Justin Rose sensationally holed out from the rough on the 72nd hole as a 17-year-old amateur to finish a fairy-tale fourth at The Open Championship in 1998.

From that grand-stand high to his 21 successive missed cuts immediately after turning professional, Rose has indeed blossomed - forgive the pun - into one of England’s golden sons that Asian fans are awaiting in earnest for his title defence at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions come October.

In the age where a new generation of 20-somethings such as Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm and Jordan Spieth are threatening to dominate the game, Rose, who is now a ripe 37 years of age, has proven time and again that he has the will and skill to thrill fans.

Currently ranked No. 3 on planet golf, Rose is the reigning Olympic Games Gold Medal winner, a Major champion, holder of 11 victories on the European Tour and nine on the PGA TOUR, which includes two World Golf Championships.

Not only is Rose a fine gentleman and ferocious golfer, but he is also generous at heart too where along with his wife Kate, their foundation - the Kate and Justin Rose Foundation - focuses on improving children’s lives by providing nutritional support, funding education and providing ‘first exposure’ positive life experiences to kids.

With the PGA TOUR’s 2017-18 Season entering its climax with the FedExCup Playoffs concluding in September, Rose must be feeling the good vibes again as it was exactly a year ago that the Englishman’s stock rose dramatically.

In 23 starts around the world, he has won four times in China, Turkey, Indonesia and America, finished top-10 in 14 other tournaments and check this out, he has not missed a single cut at all during that red-hot spell which began last September until the time of writing.

His triumph at last year ’s WGC-HSBC Champions at Sheshan International Golf Club was majestic. Starting the final round eight back of World No. 1 Dustin Johnson and with a simple goal of trying to finish in second place, Rose produced one of the rounds of his life to win the showpiece event by two shots following a closing five-under-par 67 under blustery conditions.

“… WGCs, whenever you beat the top players in the world, that gives a tournament victory so much more meaning, and obviously with a leaderboard like we had today with Dustin, Brooks (Koepka) and (Henrik) Stenson, I take a lot of pride in winning this tournament,” said Rose.

“And winning in China, to travel and to take your game internationally I think is something that's very important to do. Obviously, China is a very important golf nation, and a growing golf nation, so it's very important to win in front of these fans.

“The confidence I gained from coming from eight shots back in such a big tournament against such a world-class field really helped me finish off last year on a high, and I have kept the momentum going ever since. I will feel very proud to stand on the first tee at Sheshan and be announced as the defending Champion.”

Rose’s glorious victory certainly added shine onto the tournament ’s roll of honour as past WGC-HSBC Champions include Major winners Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson, Y.E. Yang, Martin Kaymer and Francesco Molinari.

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