Justin Rose hopes late bloom will put him in range of Rory McIlroy

The position of world No 2 would be a personal best

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The golf season may be winding down but Justin Rose says he still has plenty to play for as the Final Series in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai gets under way today at the BMW Masters at Lake Malaren in Shanghai.

Rose, who lies eighth, has no chance of overhauling Rory McIlroy at the top of the standings – and nor, if truth be told, do any of McIlroy’s closest pursuers – and is now focusing on his place in golf’s shifting hierarchy instead.

First Rose wants to get on the shoulder of McIlroy, the world No 1, who will not play again until the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai at the end of November, and then he wants to chase him down.

“There’s a lot of motivation to play well these coming weeks,” Rose said today. “If I play well I can strengthen my world ranking and get myself to No 2, which would be a personal best.”

And from there to No 1?

“That would be a nice sequence, yes. Every year I get excited about getting better, but finding that incremental improvement gets more difficult because you are looking for less and less to squeeze out of your game.”

Europe’s leading points scorer in the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, Rose looks to be the complete package. But he does not see it that way. “I still feel I’m not running anywhere near my full potential,” said the world No 6, who is highest ranked in the 78-man field. “I still feel I leave a lot out there every week.

“Mentally, I’m stronger but there are elements that creep in, although my improved short game is beginning to come good.”

Rose cites McIlroy’s length off the tee as a key factor in the Northern Irishman’s success. “I can add another 10 yards,” he said. “If you do that, it opens up a whole host of scoring opportunities.

“We’ve seen that with Rory this year. At times it doesn’t look as if he has played his best golf, but that advantage he has in his game really pays off for him.”