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“Hopefully, I can keep this form going and be up there again Sunday because I will need to keep playing like I did last week to have a chance of catching him, given how well he is playing this year,” said the Swede, who has won twice on the European Tour this year and jumped to 17th in the rankings after beginning the year at No. 42.

Rose, who won the European money title in 2007, lost ground in Shanghai, finishing tied for sixth spot while McIlroy finished second.

He now trails McIlroy by $1.15 million and, after the WGC, is not planning to play again until the season-ending Dubai World Championship.

“To give myself a chance _ that’s the goal this week, really is to give myself a chance going into Dubai,” Rose said. “But also I’m in Rory’s hand to a certain extent and I have to win this week to give myself that chance. So, yeah, from the Road to Dubai perspective, to keep that interesting, it’s a very important week this week.”

The field at Mission Hills is strong despite the absence of the two players at the top, with seven of the world’s top 10 golfers playing, including Donald, Lee Westwood and Australian Adam Scott.

Two-time champion Phil Mickelson also is in the field, along with U.S. Ryder Cup teammates Keegan Bradley and Bubba Watson.