Despite a back nine of 40, England’s Chris Wood took victory in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. The 28-year-old finished one shot clear of Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg.
On a challenging final day at Wentworth, Chris Wood raced out of the blocks. The Englishman established a four shot lead halfway through the final round after an opening nine of 29.
Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg had set a clubhouse target of eight-under-par after a fantastic final round of 65 but, at that stage, it looked unlikely to be enough as Wood turned at 12-under.
But a dropped shot for Wood at the 10th was compounded by further losses at the 14th, 16th and 17th holes. A birdie at the 11th offset the damage a little, but Wood’s lead over Karlberg was down to just one stroke when he stood on the 18th tee.
The Englishman hit a fine drive down the par-5 home hole and had less than 200 yards to the green. But, after advice from his caddy, he elected to lay up. He then played a solid wedge to the heart of the green and was able to two-putt for the victory.
“On the 18th I had 196 yards to the front and I immediately thought six iron, but my caddie asked if I wanted to know the situation?” said Wood after. “I said I’ll put it in your hands and he said I’d like you to lay up. It seems silly hitting sand wedge, sand wedge into 18 but as soon as he told me to lay up, I knew probably five was enough. I can rest easy now and enjoy it now.”
Masters champion Danny Willett finished alone in third with Frenchmen Julien Quesne and Romain Wattel tied fourth with Thomas Aiken of South Africa.
4 Talking points from the BMW PGA Championship
1 – This was Chris Wood’s third European Tour title and the most significant win of his professional career. He is the first English winner of the BMW PGA Championship since Luke Donald in 2012 but he is the 22nd different Englishman to win the tournament since 1955. In claiming this title, Wood will move comfortably inside the top-30 on the Official World Golf Ranking. In addition, he has climbed to third place on the European Ryder Cup points list.
Mizuno MP5 behind the scenes with Chris Wood:
2 – On a tricky final day at Wentworth, a number of top players struggled. Y.E. Yang fired a second straight 75 to fall from the halfway lead into a share of 12th, Scott Hend closed with a 78 to drop into a tie for 15th with Lee Westwood who also ended the week poorly with a 76. Only six players broke 70 on the final day which made Rikard Karlberg’s 65 seem all the more impressive. The Swede opened with a bogey on Sunday but then struck back with a hole-in-one on the second. He then made six birdies in the space of 10 holes to reach eight-under-par. He countered a dropped shot on the 16th with a birdie on the 17th and signed for a total of 280.
“When I came here and played my first practice round on Tuesday it felt so tough, such a tough golf course, and to be able to do that on a Sunday I’m very thrilled,” he said.
3 – Although Danny Willett finished with a decent 71 to claim a share of third, the Masters champ was left to consider what might have been. He finished seven-under for the week but had reached 12-under par mid-way through his second round.
“There’s a lot of good in there but the bad shots round here this week have been pretty bad and we’ve struggled to get up-and-down from a few of them,” Willett said. “Looking at the scores now we could have made it really close today if we’d have got going and kept the foot down but we just threw too many mistakes at it.”
4 – There was good news for James Morrison of England, despite a closing 75. By scoring a hole-in-one on the 14th hole, he won a BMW i8.
“I’m going to keep the car for sure,” he said. “I’ve been looking for a new car anyway.” Morrison won a 6-series Gran Coupe at the 2012 Irish Open at Royal Portrush.
BMW PGA Championship
Wentworth Club, Virginia Water, Surrey, England
Purse €5,000,000, par 72
1 Chris Wood (Eng) 72 70 68 69 279 €833,330
2 Rikard Karlberg (Swe) 69 74 72 65 280 €555,550
3 Danny Willett (Eng) 66 68 76 71 281 €313,000
T4 Thomas Aiken (RSA) 71 69 70 72 282 €212,333
T4 Julien Quesne (Fra) 69 74 67 72 282 €212,333
T4 Romain Wattel (Fra) 69 73 70 70 282 €212,333
T7 Tyrell Hatton (Eng) 72 70 66 75 283 €115,800
T7 Andrew Johnston (Eng) 76 69 71 67 283 €115,800
T7 Martin Kaymer (Ger) 70 70 70 73 283 €115,800
T7 Jaco Van Zyl (RSA) 67 68 75 73 283 €115,800
T7 Fabrizio Zanotti (Par) 72 70 72 69 283 €115,800
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage