Fernandez-Castano survives final hole wobble to take Shanghai title
Spanish golfer makes a double-bogey six at the 18th to win by one shot
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano of Spain plays a shot on the seventh hole during the final round of the BMW Masters at Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai. Carlos Barria/Reuters
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano survived a nervous finish to claim his seventh European Tour title on Sunday, victory in the BMW Masters in Shanghai taking him top of the Ryder Cup standings.
Fernandez-Castano was three shots clear of the field with one hole to play, but ran up a double-bogey six on the 18th to take some of the gloss off an otherwise brilliant performance.
The Spaniard began the day one shot behind joint leaders Luke Guthrie and Rafael Cabrera-Bello but carded a closing 68 to finish 11 under par at Lake Malaren, one shot ahead of Seve Trophy team-mate Francesco Molinari and Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy round, especially the way I started,” said Fernandez-Castano, who is moving to Miami this winter and will play largely on the USPGA Tour next season.
“I started hitting the ball pretty bad but my caddie kept me cool and told me how good I had been hitting the ball through the week and I played fantastic after that.
“On the last I played too conservative and it was a fighting six at the end for sure. I am glad I had a three-shot advantage on the last because I made my life a little complicated on that hole. The putting was letting me down a bit but I made a few changes with my coach last week and it has paid off.
“It’s perfect timing because it’s Ryder Cup qualification period right now. It doesn’t get any better than this; first event of the first ever Final Series and I got the victory.”
Molinari was six shots off the pace at the start of the day and despite a front nine of 34, his chances looked to have disappeared with a bogey on the 12th.
However, the Ryder Cup star then went on a superb scoring run, making an eagle on the par-five 13th and following that with four birdies in succession to join Fernandez-Castano on 10 under before eventually completing a superb 64.
Fernandez-Castano edged back into the lead with a birdie on the 13th and looked to have sealed a comfortable win with further birdies at the 15th and 17th, where he chipped in from just over the green.
He made hard work of the last, though, finding sand off the tee and another bunker with his third shot before holding his nerve to complete his first victory since last year’s Italian Open.