Danny Willett claimed his seventh European Tour title and a first on home soil after overcoming Spain’s Jon Rahm in a final-round duel at the BMW PGA Championship.
Willett carded a closing 67 at Wentworth to finish 20 under par, three shots ahead of fellow overnight leader Rahm, with South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout a shot further back.
Rory McIlroy, who made the cut with nothing to spare, added a 67 to his third round of 65 to finish in a tie for eighth, his 16th top 10 in 21 events this season.
After missing the cut at Wentworth last May, Willett was ranked 462nd in the world as he struggled with a loss of form precipitated by a number of injuries. The 31-year-old from Sheffield will be just outside the top 30 when the rankings are updated on Monday.
“It doesn’t get much better than this, does it?” Willett told Sky Sports. “It was a battle out there, with myself more than anyone else, and it’s nice to come through the other side.”
Willett and Rahm began the day tied for the lead and the Englishman struck the first blows with birdies on the second and third before Rahm made a gain on the fourth to halve his deficit.
A birdie on the eighth restored Willett’s two-shot lead but he looked set to surrender it after hitting a tree with his recovery shot following a wild drive on the 11th and then gouging his third shot out of the heather into a bunker.
The former Masters champion appeared to have hurt his right wrist in the process but, after finding the green with his fourth, he holed from 40 feet to drop just one shot.
Rahm bogeyed the 12th after misjudging his pitch to the green and seeing the ball roll back towards him, but the Ryder Cup star bounced back immediately to birdie the next.
However, after debating which club to hit on the par-three 14th, Rahm chose the wrong option to come up short of the green in a bunker and was unable to get up and down for par.
Both players came up just short of the green in two on the par-five 17th and Willett struck the killer blow by chipping to within inches of the hole.
Rahm’s chip ran five feet past and although he holed the putt for a birdie, Willett tapped in to take a two-shot lead to the 18th tee and any doubt about the result was removed when Rahm found the water short of the green with his approach.
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Paul Casey claimed his first European Tour title in five years after coming out on top of a congested leaderboard at the Porsche European Open.
The 42-year-old was joined by Austrian Bernd Wiesberger and overnight leaders Robert MacIntyre and Bernd Ritthammer at 12 under par with three holes remaining during an enthralling finale at Green Eagle Golf Courses.
And Casey’s experience came to the fore after a stunning birdie putt from 35 feet at the 16th proved to be the turning point as he carded a birdie-birdie-par finish to claim his 14th European Tour victory in Hamburg – his first since the KLM Open in 2014.
“I get emotional at every victory but this year has been so fantastic,” Casey told europeantour.com, who dedicated the trophy to former winner Gordon Brand Jnr following his death at the age of 60 last month.
“This is an incredibly prestigious trophy that has a lot of history to it on the European Tour so I’m over the moon. I’m happy to be the Porsche European Open champion.”
Casey started the day one shot behind the Scot and Ritthammer at eight under and recorded his best front nine of the week of 31 to move in contention, with MacIntyre still maintaining the one-shot advantage at the turn.
The 23-year-old’s only blemish at the 12th left the door open for Casey, who replied with a birdie at the 13th, to get his nose in front before moving back ahead at the 16th following a four-way tie for the lead.
Casey could only par the last to give MacIntyre and Ritthammer hope of a potential play-off.
But the Scot’s eagle putt slid by the hole before the home favourite’s birdie attempt pulled up just short as the world number 17 became the third successive Englishman to win the event after Jordan Smith and Richard McEvoy.
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Erik Van Rooyen booked his spot in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship after jumping into the top ten of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai following a thrilling final day battle with Matthew Fitzpatrick at the Scandinavian Invitation.
The South African, who was last season’s European Challenge Tour Graduate of the Year, started the final day at Hills Golf & Sports Club with a one-shot lead before stretching that to three shots on the back nine.
A birdie-birdie finish from Fitzpatrick closed the gap and when Van Rooyen bogeyed the 17th, the players were tied at 18 under. But the 29-year-old held his nerve for a closing birdie to seal a one-stroke victory and a maiden European Tour title.
“It’s too good, it’s hard to describe,” said Van Rooyen, who climbs up to ninth from 19th in the Race to Dubai Rankings after picking up 460 points.
“I was so nervous on 18. On 17 I was fine, I just didn’t hit that putt hard enough and then I asked (caddie) Alex, ‘what are we at?’ and he told me that Matt went birdie-birdie.
“I’ve been putting so well all day and to hole that one to win my first title is pretty cool.I’ve gone close a bunch of times and every time I’m in contention the question gets asked. I’m just so proud of myself and Alex and everybody, I’m over the moon.”
Fitzpatrick edged closer to the top five of the Race to Dubai Rankings after moving from ninth to sixth with his third runner-up finish of the season.
Meanwhile, Dean Burmester and Henrik Stenson finished four shots further back to share third place in Gothenburg.
Burmester’s best result of the season gives him some much-needed ranking points with the South African making his way up to 101st from 142nd.
Stenson, who had aced the par 3 sixth to take a share of the lead early in the final round, jumps up to 24th from 35th after collecting 154.5 Race to Dubai points.