Lee Westwood carded a double bogey and still shot 10-under 61 Thursday to reach the championship match of the Turkish Airlines World Golf Finals.
Justin Rose’s route proved a bit more arduous.
In need of a spark during his semifinal match against Tiger Woods, Rose birdied the 13th, then made eagle on 14th to go from two shots behind to one ahead en route to a 69-70 victory.
Now, Rose will meet Westwood in an all-English final Friday that pits teammates from the victorious European Ryder Cup team. At stake: a $1.5 million first-place prize.
But if Westwood plays anything like he did Thursday at Antalya Golf Club, he’ll be nearly impossible to beat.
The world No. 4 shot 64 in the morning to defeat Webb Simpson by three shots, then saved his best performance of the week for his semifinal match against Charl Schwartzel (67). Westwood eagled the par-4 third, double-bogeyed No. 4, and then ripped off eight birdies and an eagle the rest of the way for a 61, the low round of the week.
“It was just one of those days when I was on a roll,” he told reporters. “I am just pleased to be swinging at the ball well. It seemed the hole just got bigger and bigger with each hole I played, and that hasn’t happened in a while.”
As for Woods, he mixed three birdies and two bogeys in a losing effort.
“When Justin birdied 13 and holed out at 14, it was the turning point in the match,” he said, according to published reports. “I was two up at the time and all of a sudden, I’m one down with four to play.
“But in this stroke-play format, it’s not over until it’s done. There can be some big swings out there, and it’s certainly frustrating when I’ve lost two matches by a shot this week.”
Not soon to be forgotten, of course, was Woods’ dominating takedown of world No. 1 and budding rival Rory McIlroy in Thursday morning’s match. Tiger shot a bogeyless 64, while Rory slogged his way to a 70 in front of his tennis-star girlfriend.
Not that the Northern Irishman was too distraught. “I’m not that disappointed,” he said afterward, “because I’ve got the afternoon off around the pool.”
Perhaps now he can save a lounge chair for Woods.