Francesco Molinari ends long wait for Wentworth glory

Rory McIlroy finishes runner-up after mixed final round

Italy’s Francesco Molinari sprays champagne as he celebrates his victory at the BMW  PGA Championship at Wentworth.  Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP

Italy’s Francesco Molinari sprays champagne as he celebrates his victory at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP

 

Italy’s Francesco Molinari finally got his hands on the BMW PGA Championship trophy as Rory McIlroy’s bid for a second title came up short.

Molinari carded a closing 68 to finish 17 under par and two shots ahead of playing partner McIlroy, with defending champion Alex Noren and Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard a shot further back.

Molinari, whose second place 12 months ago was his fifth top 10 at Wentworth in the last six years, began the day in a tie for the lead with McIlroy but quickly moved clear with birdies on the third, fourth and eighth and never looked like being caught until some late drama on the final hole.

Three ahead playing the 18th, Molinari’s third shot to the green almost span back into the water and his fourth left him facing five feet for par, with McIlroy 20 feet away for eagle.

However, McIlroy agonisingly left his attempt inches short and Molinari held his nerve to hole out for par, meaning he had dropped just two shots all week, the last coming on the 10th hole of the second round.

The impressive win will take the 35-year-old back inside the world’s top 20 and within sight of securing a third Ryder Cup appearance in September.

McIlroy had enjoyed a three-shot lead at halfway, but struggled to a 71 on Saturday and rescued a 70 on Sunday with birdies on the last two holes.

Graeme McDowell carded a bogey-free closing round of four-under 68 to finish in a share of 13th position on nine under, while Shane Lowry a shot behind, his week ending on a high as he eagled the 18th in a two-under 70.

LEADERBOARD
British and Irish unless stated, Par 72
271
Francesco Molinari (Ita) 70 67 66 68
273 Rory McIlroy 67 65 71 70
274 Lucas Bjerregaard (Den) 65 73 71 65, Alex Noren (Swe) 69 68 70 67
275 Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Th) 68 69 71 67, Branden Grace (Rsa) 69 69 69 68
276 Darren Fichardt (Rsa) 66 72 71 67
278 Ross Fisher 71 68 68 71, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 72 68 70 68, Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 69 72 69 68, Matthew Fitzpatrick 67 71 73 67
279 Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 74 67 68 70, Dean Burmester (Rsa) 66 73 73 67, Graeme McDowell 71 67 73 68
280 Sam Horsfield 67 68 72 73, Shane Lowry 69 71 70 70, Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 74 68 70 68, Fabrizio Zanotti (Par) 69 69 73 69, Mikko Korhonen (Fin) 68 70 70 72
281 Robert Rock 69 68 72 72, Matt Wallace 72 69 69 71, Tommy Fleetwood 70 66 77 68, Paul Casey 72 70 69 70, Ian Poulter 74 67 72 68, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa) 70 69 71 71, Jacques Kruyswijk (Rsa) 73 70 73 65
282 Chris Wood 72 68 71 71, Sebastien Gros (Fra) 69 66 73 74, Lasse Jensen (Ger) 68 70 71 73, Alexander Bjork (Swe) 71 70 71 70, Matteo Manassero (Ita) 75 66 73 68, David Lipsky (USA) 70 72 73 67, Matthew Southgate 69 72 72 69, Lee Westwood 70 69 69 74
283 Richard Bland 67 75 72 69, Adrien Saddier (Fra) 70 70 74 69, Richie Ramsay 69 71 71 72, Andy Sullivan 71 68 74 70, Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 70 69 74 70, Jens Dantorp (Swe) 74 69 71 69, Hideto Tanihara (Jpn) 69 72 74 68
284 Maximilian Kieffer (Ger) 69 71 74 70
285 Haotong Li (Chn) 73 66 74 72, Julian Suri (USA) 74 67 74 70, Mike Lorenzo
Vera (Fra) 72 70 75 68, Haydn Porteous (Rsa) 74 69 71 71, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 70 73 71 71, Eddie Pepperell 72 68 74 71, Scott Fernandez (Esp) 74 69 74 68, Thomas Detry (Bel) 72 71 73 69
286 Andrew Dodt (Aus) 70 73 74 69
287 Alexander Levy (Fra) 70 68 75 74, Stephen Gallacher 71 69 76 71, Jeunghun Wang (Kor) 74 69 70 74, Andrea Pavan (Ita) 73 70 72 72, Paul Waring 73 68 77 69, Gavin Green (May) 72 70 73 72
288 Trevor Immelman (Rsa) 71 68 76 73, Bradley Neil 71 69 74 74
289 Marc Warren 71 72 70 76, Thorbjorn Olesen (Ger) 69 70 78 72, Brandon Stone (Rsa) 73 70 75 71, Nino Bertasio (Ita) 68 70 81 70
290 Matthieu Pavon (Fra) 72 67 74 77, Rak hyun Cho (Kor) 74 68 72 76, Ashun Wu (Chn) 72 71 75 72
295 Daniel Brooks 70 73 78 74
297 James Heath 72 67 78 80

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