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October 25, 2015

Justin Rose

Fanling, Hong Kong

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Thoughts on being the 2015 UBS Hong Kong Open Champion?

JUSTIN ROSE: It really turned into a bit of a head-to-head battle with myself and Lucas. Pretty much for 36 holes, it was me and him going head-to-head. It was tight the whole day. He was ahead, I was ahead, he was ahead. But I kept my nose in front right at the end, so, delighted.

MICHAEL GIBBONS: And The Race to Dubai, you've just moved up. It's a great victory for you, isn't it.

JUSTIN ROSE: Absolutely. I feel like I had a few chances. I won the Zurich Classic this year and feel like I've had other opportunities during the summer where I wasn't able to close it out. Even last week in Napa in California, I felt like that was a tournament I could have won.

So it's very important for a player's self-confidence when you get those chances to putt them away and keep that winning feeling going.

Q. What happened on 14?
JUSTIN ROSE: 14 is a tricky hole. I think it's actually one of the best holes on the golf course. The only place you can't miss it off the tee is left and Lucas looked like his iron off the tee got caught up in the left side.

Yeah, he was unlucky in the sense of if you try to hit a shot low, running shot through the gap, clipped a tree and went left. Compounded the mistake with a 3-putt. But from my point of view at that time, I was just trying to play my own game. I struggled with the putter a little bit around the turn. Missed a 3-putt at No. 9 and just didn't really feel that comfortable on the greens.

That was the first really good putt I hit all day, and thought it was going in myself, and it hit the left edge and spun out. But from that point on, I actually hit a lot of good putts from 14, 15, 16, 17. Obviously 18 was a 3-putt but it was a very tricky green.

Yeah, that was the turning point, really, and where I got my nose in front and there on, I was just trying to close it out and stay ahead.

Q. How do you feel about moving up into the top five in the World Rankings?
JUSTIN ROSE: That's good news, yeah. I wasn't 100 per cent sure how many World Ranking points were on offer this week but I was hoping that it might be a jump to the top five. I'm very pleased about that. Really, the last four seasons, I've ended the year around the top five, so I'm very pleased with that consistency year on year.

Yeah, it's good World Ranking points and obviously it's good Ryder Cup points. A lot of great things come out of a victory, and especially heading into Christmas, you start to take stock of the season, and improving the World Ranking is important.

Q. Can you compare winning here the UBS Hong Kong Open to your other wins?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think it's certainly a fantastic tournament to win. It has a lot of history. I just have to look at the names of who has won this tournament in the past. Any time you win an historic old trophy with great history, it makes it even more special.

Any time you win late in the season, it helps improve all sorts of things, like World Ranking, Race to Dubai points. So there's a lot of meaningful reasons why today was a big victory.

Q. There were 15,000 people out there watching you today. How were the crowds, and will you be back next year to defend your title?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, there was a big crowd out there today. Fooch was sort of commenting on it early in the round. He was just saying great turnout.

It takes some managing out there at a lot of times. There's a lot of cameras and maybe not quite strict use of the rope lines at times. But for the most part, everyone was having a good time. You could tell it was a good energy out there and everyone was excited.

I think obviously we were the group to watch because we separated ourselves a little bit from the rest of the field. In a lot of other tournaments you have a potential winner three groups ahead or something like that. But obviously the way this tournament played out, the focus was on our group, which I think made the crowds even bigger for our two ball.

Q. Will you be back?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I'll be back. I think that the date has not been 100 per cent locked in. So barring some other crazy scheduling thing, I just need to see when the date is. But yeah, I had a wonderful experience here this week, and look forward to obviously always defending a title.

Q. What were the specific changes from when you played here in 2011 --
JUSTIN ROSE: I think I was playing to the wider part of the fairway. I think I was hitting a 3-iron off the tee -- but I hit my 3-iron really well this week. I was hitting 3-iron but I was hitting 3-iron 260 by the time it rolled out.

I think maybe hitting the ball a bit further this year helped me from that point of view, so I was able to club down but still get decent distance out of the ball. Whereas 2011, I might have hit 235 off the tee or 240, and then it really is laying back.

So I still felt like I was able to be aggressive and hit the ball far enough off the tee to give myself a good chance to make birdies. But being able to hit a 3-iron kept me having control over the ball. I drove the ball better this week with my driver than I did in the last couple of weeks that I played. So I found that I drove the ball -- I just found something with my driver this week, too.

For example, the second hole on the weekend, third hole, those sorts key shots in the round, and I was able to make birdies by driving it well when I hit my drive.

Q. In the past four days, it's been quite clean sort golf, not much wind. Are you surprised that no one stepped up to challenge?
JUSTIN ROSE: You say that, but today was actually a little trickier. The wind blew -- it was an extra five-mile-an-hour wind today and it was just enough where you had to think about it.

For example, when you are hitting wedges into the green on, let's say, No. 12, the little par 3, the pin was tucked in that tight left section and there was enough wind where you were not really sure if it was going to help the ball over the water, or if you had to play to the wind or not play to the wind.

So I thought it was a tricky day today trying to judge the exact distance of your approach play. But certainly the first three days, wonderful scoring conditions and the greens were also relatively soft with the rain we had prior to the tournament. So scoring was very favourable this year.

But the rough was thicker, too. So that was the other thing that kept the scores down, or kept the scores high enough, let's say. If you didn't drive the ball well; the rough was pretty thick.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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