Rose's putter was both his nemisis and his savior on Sunday.
SOTOGRANDE, Spain (AP) -- Justin Rose survived a 3-over 74 to win the European Order of Merit title Sunday with a playoff victory at the season-ending Volvo Masters.
Rose rolled in a 12-foot birdie on the second playoff hole, the par-4 10th, to beat Simon Dyson (70) of England and Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen (67).
"I knew it was going to come down to No. 10 and, luckily, it was me," Rose said. "I dug deep. There's got to be an easier way."
The three players finished tied at 1-under 283 at Valderrama. Rose started the final round with a four-stroke lead over Dyson and Padraig Harrington.
Rose overtook Ernie Els, who had opted to play in Singapore on the Asia Tour this week, to top the European Tour's season-ending money list by winning $960,488.
The 27-year-old Englishman knew he had won before the playoff due to his guaranteed top-three finish with Harrington, his closest rival, out of contention.
"It's emotional. It was a hard day," Rose said. "It's been a long road to get here, but I feel great."
Rose topped the money list with $4,276,062 won from 12 tournaments, the fewest events to capture the Harry Vardon trophy in the European Tour's modern history. Els had $3,624,407 and Harrington was third with $3,577,355.
Harrington missed birdie putts at the 17th and 18th that would have pushed him into the playoff. The British Open champion had a 72 to finish two shots back tied for fourth.
"I'm disappointed, I didn't putt well today," he said. "I tried to hole that putt at No. 18 and put a little pressure on him."
Harrington won last year's Order of Merit title after finishing in a three-way tie for second at this event.
Rose had a four-shot lead after a birdie at No. 9, and was six ahead of Harrington.
But Rose's round began to unravel at the 11th. A double-bogey was followed by bogeys at Nos. 13 and 14.
"I saw the Order of Merit slipping away then," Rose said. "I said to myself to pull it together."
His approach to 15 feet at the par-5 17th gave him a tap-in birdie, but Dyson equaled to draw even at 2 under.
Kjeldson watched from the clubhouse as the final pair missed par putts to send it to a playoff.
Kjeldsen had three birdies in his first five holes for the day's lowest score.
The last time the tournament went to a playoff, England's Ian Poulter beat Sergio Garcia of Spain in 2004.