Wentworth joy for Willett as former Masters winner lands PGA Championship glory

By Sports Desk September 22, 2019

Former Masters champion Danny Willett held off Jon Rahm to win the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

The Sheffield-born 31-year-old completed a stunning week in Surrey with a closing five-under-par 67 to reach 20 under through 72 holes.

It meant he finished three clear of Spaniard Rahm, with whom he had been level-pegging at the start of the day.

Rahm made 70 - his worst score of the week - to finish one in front of South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout, who carded a 68.

Americans Billy Horschel and Patrick Reed had stirring final rounds of 65 and 66 respectively to tie for fourth on 15 under.

Further down the field, Justin Rose tied for eighth after back-to-back double bogeys at 12 and 13 scuppered his hopes of a late charge.

And Rory McIlroy left it too late to challenge, with the Northern Irishman's opening 76 on Thursday having given him too much ground to make up.

He followed Saturday's 65 with 6, but McIlroy could only tie for ninth with Englishman Andrew 'Beef' Johnston. Open champion Shane Lowry closed with a 66 to tie for 11th with Paul Casey and Viktor Hovland.

If the crowds continued to lap up some McIlroy magic, the glory belonged exclusively to Willett, who has pulled his game together in the last 18 months after experiencing a miserable slump in form since his 2016 Augusta triumph.

At one stage he slipped outside the world's top 450. However, winning the World Tour Championship in Dubai at the end of 2018 proved to Willett he could be a champion again.

And after finishing joint-sixth at The Open in July, he has landed another significant trophy - the first European Tour title he has won in the United Kingdom.

Willett produced six birdies in his closing round, but it was arguably the putt he made for bogey at the 11th that made all the difference, after going a long way right off the tee and then being bunkered.

At that stage a double would have allowed Rahm to draw level on 17 under, but Willett rolled in a 40-footer to give away only one shot, to his obvious relief, and birdies at 17 and 18 completed the job in style.

"It doesn't get much better does it?" Willett told Sky Sports. "An emotional week. It was a good battle out there - with myself more than anyone else - and it’s nice to come through.

"[I've had] an undying want to get back there. I was willing to change whatever had to be changed and I think that's pretty hard to do, it's hard to jump full throttle into something that you're not quite sure if it's going to work out or not.

He added: "Dubai was a special week but to be able to come here at the BMW PGA Championship in front of home crowds at Wentworth and come away winning is special."

Related items

  • Reed produces fine finish to win WGC-Mexico Championship Reed produces fine finish to win WGC-Mexico Championship

    Patrick Reed secured the WGC-Mexico Championship with a one-stroke victory on Sunday.

    The American produced a fine finish at Club de Golf Chapultepec, birdieing four of his remaining seven holes on his way to a four-under 67 in the final round.

    Reed finished at 18 under, a shot clear of Bryson DeChambeau, who carded a six-under 65.

    It marked Reed's eighth PGA Tour win and first of 2020, and second World Golf Championships success, with the other coming in 2014 when this event was called the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

    Reed made three straight birdies from holes 15 to 17 to grab control, closing out victory despite a bogey at the par-four 18th.

    "It's very rewarding," he told NBC.

    "My team and I we've worked so hard through the end of last year and also the beginning of this year and we kept on feeling like we were playing some good golf, just we weren't quite able to get over that hump.

    "To come back and win my second World Golf Championship, especially with how I had to finish basically 15 onwards. The last hole was ugly but it was what I needed just to get the job done and at the end of the day just putting yourself in these positions on Sunday is just unbelievable, it's a great feeling.

    "I can't wait to go home and celebrate with the little ones and my wife and bring them home a trophy."

    Spaniard Jon Rahm (67) and South African Erik van Rooyen (70) finished tied for third at 15 under.

    World number one Rory McIlroy could only manage a closing three-under 68 to end up fifth a further shot back.

    Overnight leader Justin Thomas struggled to a two-over 73 that saw him finish tied for sixth alongside Hideki Matsuyama (67) and Tyrrell Hatton (68).

    Thomas made three bogeys on his front nine before adding a double-bogey at the par-four 10th and dropping another shot at 13.

  • Thomas holds slender lead in Mexico, brilliant Rahm breaks course record Thomas holds slender lead in Mexico, brilliant Rahm breaks course record

    Justin Thomas holds a one-shot lead after an eventful third round at the WGC-Mexico Championship that included Jon Rahm breaking the course record.

    After scores of 67 and 66 over the previous two days, Thomas continued going in the right direction by signing for a 65 on Saturday, moving him to 15 under par.

    The American started and finished his work with bogeys, yet in between had eight birdies to put himself clear at the top of a high-class leaderboard and in pole position for his third title of the 2019-20 PGA Tour season.

    Erik van Rooyen and Patrick Reed head the chasing pack after both signed for 67s at the Club de Golf Chapultepec.

    Van Rooyen had moved into contention at the halfway stage with a 62 that tied the course record – but Rahm went one better to climb to 11 under.

    The Spaniard made a brilliant start with birdies at six of his first seven holes and following three more after the turn, he produced a stunning hole-in-one at the par-three 17th, his tee shot dropping into the cup on the second bounce.

    "With the start I had today, the only thing in mind was trying to get as close as possible to the leaders," Rahm – whose solitary blemish during a spectacular day came at the eighth – said after the lowest score of his professional career.

    "If I had a good finish, I was going to have a chance tomorrow, and that's kind of what gave me a second wind on the back nine."

    Rahm is tied for fourth alongside Ryder Cup team-mate Rory McIlroy (68) and halfway leader Bryson DeChambeau, who followed up Friday's 63 with a 71 that included a double-bogey seven after finding water at the sixth.

    Englishmen Tyrrell Hatton and Paul Casey are a further shot back on 10 under.

  • DeChambeau birdies his way to WGC-Mexico Championship lead, McIlroy falls DeChambeau birdies his way to WGC-Mexico Championship lead, McIlroy falls

    Bryson DeChambeau birdied his way to a one-stroke lead at the halfway stage of the WGC-Mexico Championship on Friday.

    DeChambeau produced a putting masterclass to move top of the leaderboard after two rounds with an eight-under-par 63.

    The American golfer had seven birdies in an eight-hole stretch as he lit up Club de Golf Chapultepec.

    DeChambeau finished with nine birdies and just one bogey to be 11 under and clear of countryman Patrick Reed (63) and South African Erik van Rooyen (62).

    "It was a lot of fun," DeChambeau said. "Surely when you have days like that you can't help but smile out there, and making those putts the way I did, striking the ball the way I did, it's surely a joy out there.

    "The confidence has got to be high. It is high, and it's a lot of fun to see putts finally going in. I'm going to go out and do my work like I normally do, go putt a little bit, hit some balls, but overall everything is going pretty well. I’m firing on all cylinders."

    Birthday boy Van Rooyen, 30, tied the course record with his sizzling and flawless second round, which included nine birdies.

    Justin Thomas (66) dropped two positions to nine under as he ended the second day tied for fourth alongside Hideki Matsuyama (64).

    World number one Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, lost top spot following his two-under-par 69.

    Carrying a two-shot lead into the second round, McIlroy was unable to replicate his first-round 65 as the Northern Irishman slipped three strokes off the pace.

    Bubba Watson – a three-time runner-up – is three under through 36 holes after his 72, while defending champion Dustin Johnson (71) and struggling Jordan Spieth (73) are both five over and tied for 60th.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.