Billy Horschel admits missing Ryder Cup motivated him on way to Wentworth win

American cards closing 65 to take BMW PGA Championship as Shane Lowry fades on final day

Billy Horschel acknowledges the applause as he walks to the 18th green during his final round at the BMW PGA Championship. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP via Getty Images

Billy Horschel acknowledges the applause as he walks to the 18th green during his final round at the BMW PGA Championship. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP via Getty Images

 

The irony wasn’t lost on anyone. In a BMW PGA Championship where at times the sub-plot of European Ryder Cup qualifying seemed as important as the title itself, an American – Billy Horschel – who perhaps should be a part of that match in just over a fortnight’s time but didn’t even merit a phone call from USA captain Steve Stricker, got his own form of redemption.

When it mattered, Horschel was the last man standing, as a final round 65 for 19-under-par 269 gave him a one-stroke winning margin over Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Welshman Jamie Donaldson and England’s Laurie Canter.

All had their chances, most notably Aphibarnrat, who held a three-stroke lead at one point, only to somewhat spoil his superb 64 with a bogey-par finish on the closing back-to-back par fives.

For Shane Lowry, who’d gone into the final round with a chance of contending and also of securing his own Ryder Cup destiny, it proved to be a double-whammy. Lowry’s chances of both ultimately fell with a costly bogey, double-bogey on the 14th and 15th, where he drove into trees, ended such aspirations and it took a birdie-birdie finish for a 71 for 276 (tied-17th).

Lowry identified the par-four 15th as his Achilles heel. “I played the 15th at five over for the week which is obviously not good enough . . . and I only birdied the (par five) 12th once,” said a disappointed Lowry, whose consistency this season has seen him make every cut he has played since the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill back in March.

Bernd Wiesberger was also part of the subplot and his tied-20th finish meant the Austrian moved ahead of Rory McIlroy on the European points list and, in effect, bumped Lowry out of the automatic places as McIlroy moved across to the world points list.

For Horschel, there was no Ryder Cup place on the line. He’d failed to make Stricker’s US team by right and, although he’d shown his match play pedigree by lifting the WGC-Dell Technologies earlier in the season, the real head-scratcher was that he had not even received a call of commiseration from Stricker, which indicated the world 28 hadn’t been a factor in wild card picks.

On a day of hot scoring, Horschel’s bogey-free round of seven birdies – on the third, fourth, sixth, 11th, 12th, 15th and 18th – meant he trended towards the top of the leaderboard. Canter, seeking a breakthrough tournament win, drove into rough on the last and was forced to lay-up but still had a 15-footer down the hill to force a playoff which narrowly missed and proclaimed Horschel as only the second American to lift the European Tour’s flagship event, following in the footsteps of Arnold Palmer in 1975.

“To have my name on that trophy next to his being the second American to win this event is pretty special,” admitted Horschel.

Of his omission from the US Ryder Cup team considerations, he added: “ I didn’t play well enough to make enough points to be an automatic qualifier. I didn’t play consistent enough over the last few months.

“I will say this, there was added motivation this week. I thought I was going to get a phone call. I didn’t think it would be a phone call that said I made the team, but a phone call saying, ‘hey, you had a great year, obviously we talked, but we’re going in a different direction’. I didn’t get that phone call. I was a little upset, I was a little ticked. It gave me a little bit of fire in my butt or my ass.”

Final scores

British and Irish unless stated, par 72

269 Billy Horschel (USA) 70 65 69 65

270 Laurie Canter 67 66 70 67, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 64 68 74 64, Jamie Donaldson 69 66 69 66

271 Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 64 72 68 67

272 Justin Rose 67 68 72 65, Andrew Johnston 70 69 68 65, Francesco Laporta (Ita) 68 65 69 70

273 Shubhankar Sharma (Ind) 70 69 68 66, Thomas Pieters (Bel) 70 66 71 66, Sean Crocker (USA) 71 68 66 68

274 Tommy Fleetwood 71 68 68 67, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 69 69 69 67

275 Adam Scott (Aus) 65 69 70 71, Aaron Rai 70 70 67 68, David Law 72 69 68 66

276 Shane Lowry (Irl) 70 66 69 71, Masahiro Kawamura (Jpn) 67 69 72 68, Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin) 70 67 72 67

277 Matthew Fitzpatrick 72 69 68 68, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 71 67 67 72, Nicolai Hoejgaard (Den) 70 67 69 71, Joachim B. Hansen (Den) 69 68 72 68, Fabrizio Zanotti (Pry) 70 66 73 68

278 Martin Kaymer (Ger) 70 68 70 70, Stephen Gallacher 73 67 70 68

279 Alexander Noren (Swe) 70 70 72 67, Alexander Bjoerk (Swe) 69 70 70 70, Joakim Lagergren (Swe) 70 70 66 73

280 Henrik Stenson (Swe) 69 71 70 70, Dean Burmester (Rsa) 70 70 70 70, Marcus Armitage 70 66 72 72, Miguel Angel Jimenez (Esp) 68 69 73 70, David Horsey 72 68 73 67

281 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 69 73 70 69, Pablo Larrazabal (Esp) 68 70 75 68, Lucas Bjerregaard (Den) 73 68 70 70, Alexander Levy (Fra) 75 67 73 66, Joost Luiten (Ned) 68 72 73 68, Sam Horsfield 72 65 73 71, Matthew Southgate 70 72 68 71, Justin Walters (Rsa) 70 70 66 75, Ross Fisher 71 67 71 72, Jack Senior 70 71 69 71

282 Brandon Stone (Rsa) 72 69 70 71, Mikko Korhonen (Fin) 70 68 72 72, Paul Waring 73 68 70 71, Robert Rock 72 70 70 70

283 Viktor Hovland (Nor) 72 67 73 71, Victor Perez (Fra) 76 66 69 72, Graeme McDowell (NIrl) 71 69 73 70, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 73 66 72 72, Adrian Otaegui (Esp) 72 69 71 71, David Drysdale 70 70 69 74

284 Steven Brown 70 72 74 68, Jordan Smith 71 71 70 72

285 Richard Bland 74 68 70 73, Ignacio Elvira (Esp) 70 70 75 70, Richie Ramsay 71 70 73 71, Kalle Samooja (Fin) 70 69 72 74, Edoardo Molinari (Ita) 73 67 73 72, David Howell 71 71 70 73

286 Grant Forrest 70 72 71 73, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 73 69 71 73, Julian Suri (USA) 69 72 74 71, Robin Roussel (Fra) 70 72 75 69

287 Rafael Cabrera (Esp) 71 69 68 79, Antoine Rozner (Fra) 77 65 75 70, Oliver Wilson 69 73 71 74, Joel Stalter (Fra) 72 69 74 72

288 Lee Westwood 70 70 71 77, Danny Willett 70 71 73 74, Johannes Veerman (USA) 73 66 71 78, Jeff Winther (Den) 69 73 77 69

289 George Coetzee (Rsa) 73 69 68 79, Maximilian Kieffer (Ger) 72 70 76 71

290 Daniel Gavins 70 69 76 75

293 Ross McGowan 70 69 77 77

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