Rose’s final round of 68, despite bogeys at his final two holes, allowed him to come from three shots off Li’s 54 hole pace to force the playoff and win with a par at the first extra hole, Li three-putting threre to allow Rose to successfully defend the title.
Rose returns to the top spot in the men’s game ahead of Brooks Koepka after holding the mantle for 12 days in September.
Spain’s Adrian Otaegui and Belgian Thomas Detry tied for 3rd two shots behind the playoff.
“It’s really important to have defended a title,” said Rose. “It's taken me a long time to do it. Maybe I haven't won enough tournaments to give myself enough opportunities to defend.
“But this golf course obviously suits my eye, and when you do find a golf course that does suit your eyes, you feel like you should give yourself opportunities to win there, but to do it back-to-back is very special.
“It’s really nice to be back at World Number One. That's just something to be proud of. It certainly doesn't make you one-under par on the first tee the next time you play but it's something to be proud of for sure.”
Jason Scrivener finished as the leading Australian when he tied for 23rd although he will be disappointed at being unable to build on what had been a good start to the event.
Lucas Herbert recovered from a slow start to the event to finish 35th, Wade Ormsby was 47th and Scott Hend 68th.
New Zealander Ryan Fox was tied with Scrivener for 23rd.
The European Tour moves to Sun City in South Africa for this week’s Nedbank Challenge Hosted by Gary Player ahead of the season ending D.P. World Tour Championship in Dubai.
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