Victor Perez outlasted Matthew Southgate in a round-four thriller to claim his maiden European Tour title at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

The duo were level heading into Sunday's play at St Andrews' old course and were still unable to be split by the 17th after a ding-dong battle.

However, a costly bogey from Southgate at the penultimate hole meant Frenchman Perez – who now resides in nearby Dundee – was able to lift the trophy thanks to a two-under-par 70 that left him at 22 under overall.

"The emotions were really high all day," said Perez, who graduated from the European Challenge Tour last season.

"It was really cold and windy, a long day out there and I felt I was able to battle.

"It wasn't easy, Matt played amazing. I was expecting some of the guys to charge and we were fortunate that it was kind of a one on one battle on the back nine.

"JP [Fitzgerald, Perez's caddie] knows the three courses like the back of his pocket, especially St Andrews, and it was a huge advantage for me to know where to hit it and really trust him."

A run of four birdies in five holes prior to the turn seemingly saw the momentum shift to Southgate, but dropped shots at 14 and 17 proved his undoing as he finished one stroke back.

Perez's victory means he enters the world's top 70, and also the top 20 in the European Tour's Race to Dubai Rankings.

Paul Waring and Joakim Lagergren finished two shots back in a tie for third, while Tommy Fleetwood and Tom Lewis each signed for sensational 64s to finish among a cluster of five players three strokes adrift.

Rory McIlroy has not quite been able to keep pace with the leaders this weekend but a classy 67 saw him finish the tournament at 15 under, one shot above Justin Rose. 

Rory McIlroy has little confidence he can add to his FedEx Cup title by winning the European Tour's Race to Dubai.

McIlroy won the Tour Championship and with it the $15million in prize money awarded to the FedEx Cup champion with a three-stroke victory at East Lake last month.

He is 24th in the Race to Dubai rankings with eight more events before the World Tour Championship in Dubai brings the European Tour season to a close.

McIlroy will attempt to improve his standing at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship this week. 

However, the four-time major winner is not holding out much hope of being able to win the Race to Dubai for the fourth time in his career, as his schedule is unlikely to help him secure enough points.

"I wouldn't be too confident about doing the double," McIlroy told Sky Sports. "I'm just not playing enough to do that.

"I'm playing here, then I'm going to the Far East to play a PGA Tour event in Japan and then play in China [at the WGC-HSBC Champions], which is a co-sanctioned event, and then play Dubai.

"I'm probably not playing enough to win the Race to Dubai, but you never know if I win a couple and at least give myself a chance."

McIlroy has five top-10 finishes from his past six events across both tours and is determined to try to keep the momentum going until the end of the campaign.

"I guess it's been hard to not view what happened a few weeks ago in Atlanta [at the Tour Championship] as like the end of the season for me," McIlroy added.

"I've really needed to try to reset and try to focus on these next few weeks and play well going into the real end of the year."

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."

Jon Rahm made a remarkable recovery at Wentworth's 18th hole on Saturday to retain a share of the BMW PGA Championship lead alongside Danny Willett.

An eagle at the last on Friday had seen Rahm join Willett at the top of the leaderboard through two rounds, but it appeared the same hole would prove his undoing 24 hours later.

Rahm, leading by a single stroke heading to the par-five 18th, sent an awful drive towards the bushes and looked to be facing a first double-bogey of the week.

The Spaniard's problems were compounded by Englishman Willett's proficiency at the same hole, lining up a birdie putt from four feet.

Willett executed the putt to move to 15 under for the week, but Rahm, having made the green with his fourth shot, sank a stunning effort to save par.

The duo held a three-shot joint-lead, with Indian Shubhankar Sharma having surged into contention with nine birdies before a bogey at the last left him on 12 under with a 66.

Justin Rose also dropped a shot at the last to join Sharma, having made an eagle at the 17th, with Christiaan Bezuidenhout the third man at the same score.

Elsewhere, Rory McIlroy had been made to work hard to make the cut on Friday following a dismal opening-round 76, but he was back on form as the weekend began.

A fine 65 left the world number two on six under for the week, low enough to provoke a sliver of optimism that an unlikely title challenge might still be on the cards.

McIlroy, who was hoping for Rahm and Willett to slump, told Sky Sports: "I've done what I can and shot a good score.

"If I go out [on Sunday] and shoot something similar, I don't know if it's going to be quite good enough but at least I've given myself something to hope for. That's a nice thing."

American Patrick Reed appeared to be in contention after signing for a 67 to reach nine under, while Italian Francesco Molinari was a shot further back.

The 18th did not cause Englishman Ross Fisher as much trouble as it had others, as he achieved a brilliant albatross to finish his third round - earning a new BMW for the feat.

Rory McIlroy scraped into the weekend at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, where Jon Rahm and Danny Willett claimed a share of the lead through 36 holes.

McIlroy's first round had unravelled in spectacular fashion as he carded a four-over-par 76, leaving him with plenty of work to do when he headed back out onto the course on Friday.

The world number two needed to get back to one over to make the cut but saw his early progress, with two birdies in four holes, checked by a bogey at the fifth.

McIlroy was still two strokes shy of his target with five holes remaining but picked up shots at the par-three 14th and par-four 16th to get the job done.

"I guess I played a bit better today - while still not quite feeling in sync with everything," McIlroy told Sky Sports.

"I battled well, the conditions were a lot trickier out there today than they were yesterday [Thursday]. I definitely didn't think I was going to get into a position where I didn't need to birdie either of the [last two] holes coming in."

McIlroy will still require a remarkable turnaround to have any hope of challenging leaders Rahm and Willett over the next two days, though.

Rahm had already been in contention with a 66 on Thursday but started poorly with bogeys at the first and second.

A fine recovery followed, with four birdies on the bounce, yet he was still two shots shy of Willett's clubhouse target of 11 under for the week until a superb eagle at the last.

Willett might have been in an even stronger position, having been five under for the day through five and eight under through 12, signing for seven under as his form faltered on the way back.

He acknowledged: "I'm probably not back to my best, and I'm still working on the moves and there's still shots in there that I don't like."

Home hopeful Justin Rose is two shots back and is joined in a tie for third by Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Henrik Stenson, while Francesco Molinari and Patrick Reed are both in the top 20.

Matt Wallace had led overnight but collapsed completely with seven bogeys in a four-over round.

Tommy Fleetwood, like McIlroy, came close to missing the cut, albeit in different fashion - carding a three-over 75 on a disappointing day.

Rory McIlroy endured an opening round to forget at the BMW PGA Championship as Matt Wallace set the early pace at Wentworth.

Englishman Wallace carded a blemish-free 65 to sit on seven under par at the top of a star-studded leaderboard, one clear of Henrik Stenson and Jon Rahm.

Justin Rose sits alone on five under, while Ernie Els and Paul Casey are among a nine-man group a further shot back after Thursday's play.

McIlroy, however, faces an uphill battle just to make the cut after a promising start unravelled in spectacular fashion, forcing him to sign for a score of 76.

He was three under through five holes, but his day began to go awry around the turn with three successive bogeys from the eighth onwards.

A birdie at the 12th suggested it was merely a temporary blip, only for this year's FedEx Cup winner to endure a nightmare finish. There were three bogeys and a double in his closing six holes, with a frustrated McIlroy then declining to speak to the media after his four-over round.

Wallace, who lives nearby and plays the course on a regular basis, was understandably happy to discuss his performance after shooting five birdies and an eagle.

"I've played the course plenty of times before coming into this week and feel comfortable and it always helps when your game's in shape as well," he told the European Tour website.

"I just want to play better and I want to keep getting better and put myself in positions to win tournaments. It's a good start. We've got a long way to go, though."

Rahm produced an impressive finish to charge towards the summit, the Spaniard posting four birdies in his final five holes. As for Swede Stenson, he joined his 2018 Ryder Cup team-mate on six under courtesy of a successful yet somewhat bizarre eagle putt from off the green at the 18th. Stenson's ball bobbled up as soon as it was struck but nevertheless found its target from distance.

Rose bloomed late too, a birdie at his final hole taking him to five under. The Englishman has twice finished second at the tournament, including losing in a play-off to Anders Hansen in 2007.

Meanwhile, defending champion Francesco Molinari started his title defence with an opening 69, leaving him in a logjam at three under.

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will take part in The Challenge: Japan Skins ahead of the ZOZO Championship next month.

The PGA Tour has endorsed the four-player event which will see Woods, McIlroy, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama take part in a high-stakes contest, with prize money on offer at each hole.

The contest tees off on October 21 at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba, where the ZOZO Championship will also be held later in the same week.

The latter tournament is the first official event on the PGA Tour to be hosted in Japan.

Woods, a 15-time major champion, said of The Challenge: "I haven't been back to Japan since 2006 and the golf fans there are some of the best in the world.

"It's a unique format and a top field with Rory, Jason and Hideki. I can't wait to play against them on a global stage.

"I haven't played a skins format in quite some time, so it will be fun to try something a little different and add a few strategic elements as we compete.

"There has already been some friendly banter between us and that will continue until we get to the first tee."

The PGA Tour previously had the Skins Game running from 1983 until 2008.

Woods finished as a runner-up on three occasions.

FedEx Cup champion Rory McIlroy has been named the PGA Tour player of the year for a third time - and it gave him "goosebumps" to be told by Jack Nicklaus.

The 30-year-old Northern Irishman last month won the Tour Championship.to seal a second FedEx Cup triumph, earning a $15million windfall.

McIlroy has landed three PGA Tour titles - a tally matched only by Brooks Koepka - and finished in the top 10 on 14 occasions in a consistent season.

The four-time major champion receives the Jack Nicklaus Award for his year's achievement, five years after he last secured the honour.

He was presented with the trophy by Nicklaus himself, who surprised McIlroy with the news.

"I've got goosebumps. Thank you. Wow!" McIlroy said.

Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said: "On behalf of the PGA Tour, my congratulations to Rory McIlroy on being voted the 2019 PGA Tour player of the year by the Tour’s membership,

"While there are a number of honours one can receive in this game, PGA Tour player of the year has to be among the most satisfying as it comes directly from his peers.

"Rory's season was a model of consistency punctuated by milestone victories and ultimately the FedEx Cup in Atlanta."

South Korea's Sungjae Im was named PGA Tour rookie of the year, receiving the Arnold Palmer Award.

Rory McIlroy suggested mental fatigue played its part in his near-miss at the European Masters.

A week on from his victory at the Tour Championship, which earned him the FedEx Cup title and a prize of $15million, the world number two found himself in a five-man play-off at Crans-sur-Sierre, only to lose out as Sebastian Soderberg claimed a maiden European Tour title.

Reflecting on his efforts in Switzerland, McIlroy said: "[I made] too many mistakes. I think I made 13 bogeys during the week.

"I made enough birdies, but I just didn't have it over the weekend. It's been another solid week, coming back across the Atlantic. Now I'm looking forward to a couple of weeks off."

McIlroy was left to rue the fact he bogeyed the 17th and 18th on Saturday, leaving him three off the pace heading into the final round.

"This is my seventh event in eight weeks, I've played a lot of golf," he added. "Playing so much, little mental errors can creep in here and there. The sloppy finish yesterday probably cost me, but I fought back today and did my best. It just wasn't meant to be.

"I'll put the clubs away for a few days, rest, recover and reflect on what has been a pretty good season so far, and try to get myself back up for [the BMW PGA Championship at] Wentworth [starting on September 19]."

Sebastian Soderberg fended off world number two Rory McIlroy to win a five-man play-off and claim the European Masters title.

The 28-year-old Swede started the day four shots off the lead, but he made five consecutive birdies from the 10th to 14th to charge to the top of the leaderboard, only for a three-putt on 17 to drop him down to 14 under par.

McIlroy, Lorenzo Gagli, Andres Romero and Kalle Samooja joined Soderberg on the same score at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf, with a play-off needed to settle the European Masters for the sixth time in seven years.

But with McIlroy and Samooja squandering close-range conversions, a 10-foot putt for birdie secured Soderberg's maiden European Tour trophy.

Tommy Fleetwood had made early inroads towards the top at Crans, but two bogeys on the back nine saw the Englishman drop away from Soderberg, who was in sensational form, while McIlroy looked equally as sharp.

McIlroy carded five birdies in six holes to co-lead, and the Northern Irishman even emulated an iconic shot from Seve Ballesteros on the 18th.

Ballesteros' 'great escape' is one of the most incredible recovery shots in the history of the European Tour, and just feet away from the plaque which marks the spot from which the Spaniard got himself out of a huge hole in the trees at the 1993 tournament, McIlroy chipped a wonderful effort onto the fairway.

McIlroy would not have been in contention, however, had one of Gagli – who made a double bogey on the first hole – Romero, Samooja and Soderberg converted would-be winning putts on the 18th.

As has become customary in the competition, extra holes were required, with Soderberg holding his nerve to earn a first win in what was his 50th European Tour event.

"I was shaking the last few holes in the round," said Soderberg. "I calmed down a little bit for the play-off. I'm very proud of myself to be able to play good when I'm shaking.

"I felt like I had nothing to lose and just played as aggressive as I could. I was way more calm down the play-off than I was in my last few holes out there in the fourth round.

"I was just trying to take one shot at a time. I had nothing to lose at all and it's going to change a lot going forward."

Andres Romero overcame a dismal start on Saturday to claim a one-shot lead with 18 holes to play at the European Masters, as Rory McIlroy was left to rue a sloppy ending to his third round.

Romero, McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood all began the day one off the pace set by Gavin Green, but the former struggled early on as he followed a bogey at the second with a six at the par-four fifth.

However, Romero recovered superbly thereafter, carding six birdies and an eagle to offset one further bogey in a round of 66 at the picturesque Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club.

At 14 under, he leads Wade Ormsby (67) by one, the Australian having recorded a bogey at the 18th.

Green (69) and Fleetwood (68) are two back on 12 under, having also bounced back from early dropped shots, while McIlroy is three back after a miserable finish.

The world number two, who roared into contention on Friday with a 63 as Romero shot 61, bogeyed the 17th and 18th to card a 69 and make his task on the final day significantly tougher.

Rory McIlroy showed he will be the man to beat over the weekend at the European Masters as he surged into title contention.

Just five days after winning the Tour Championship to collect a $15million FedEx Cup jackpot, McIlroy fired a seven-under-par 63 to climb into a share of second place in Crans-sur-Sierre.

At the impressive course in the Swiss Alps, Malaysian Gavin Green earned a one-shot lead on 11 under par after adding a 64 to his opening 65.

The 25-year-old has yet to win on the European Tour but will see this as a chance to break that duck, yet many will fancy big names McIlroy or Tommy Fleetwood, with the Ryder Cup team-mates both poised to strike from 10 under.

Fleetwood had a second straight 65 to reach that mark, while Andres Romero of Argentina took a rather more unorthodox route, following a 69 on Thursday with a 61 - the lowest round of his career.

Australian Wade Ormsby and Austrian Matthias Schwab also reached 10 under.

Surprise front-runner Green was reading little into the scores at halfway, the world number 209 taking his mind off his lofty position on the leaderboard by preferring to focus on the spectacular scenery.

"The atmosphere and views are amazing. In Malaysia we don't have anything like this," Green said. "I've been here a couple of times now and the views never get old. I'm just trying to enjoy it and play as well as I can."

McIlroy had three birdies and an eagle from the 14th to 17th holes, powering through the field, and the Northern Irishman is savouring his first playing visit to Switzerland in eight years.

"I'm excited to give myself another chance to win," McIlroy said, according to the European Tour website.

"I really wanted to come here and play well. 

"I've got two weeks off coming up, hopefully two more good days of golf left in me, give myself a chance to win this tournament, which I've had a great chance to win before. I would love to add this title to the list."

Danny Willett, Thomas Bjorn, Andy Sullivan and Luke Donald were among the players on level par through 36 holes, missing the cut by one shot.

Mike Lorenzo-Vera showed no sign of a wedding hangover as his stunning back nine earned a share of the European Masters lead, while Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia enjoyed solid starts in Crans-Montana.

Newlywed Lorenzo-Vera picked up six shots after the turn in his opening round to join Matthias Schwab at the top of the leaderboard at the end of Thursday's action.

The highlight of the Frenchman's day was an eagle on the par-five 14th, which came amid a run of five strokes gained in four holes. 

Having taken a prolonged break to get married and move into a new house, Lorenzo-Vera was pleased with his start in Switzerland.

"I'm very happy because I just had five weeks off," he said in quotes reported by the European Tour. "It was a stressful five weeks with a wedding and moving plus two kids. I managed to bring the head together pretty well.

"The best thing to do [with so much going on] is to have a very, very good psychologist, that you call often. I'm not kidding, that's really what I do. Try to clean the head as much as possible outside the tournaments, and come here fresh and ready to play golf."

Mikko Korhonen, Sebastian Soderberg and Lorenzo Gagli sat one stroke off the leading duo, while Tommy Fleetwood was in a six-way split of sixth on five under. Garcia, the 2005 champion, formed part of a group of players three shots back after a bogey-free 66.

McIlroy continued the strong form that saw him win the Tour Championship last weekend by carding a three-under 67.

The Northern Irishman moved up to second in the world rankings after claiming the FedExCup and has his eyes firmly on displacing number one Brooks Koepka.

"I feel like when I'm playing my best, I'm the best player in the world," McIlroy told Sky Sports.

"I'd like to get back there. It's been a goal of mine for a while. I haven't experienced that summit for the last four years.

"So I feel like with the work that I'm putting in and the consistent golf that I'm playing, hopefully it's only a matter of time."

Rory McIlroy is eyeing top spot in the world rankings after winning the Tour Championship and then making a strong start to the European Masters this week.

Four-time major champion McIlroy claimed the FedEx Cup with a strong Sunday display at East Lake, moving up to number two in the rankings, behind Brooks Koepka.

The Northern Irishman, while also determined to win more majors and complete a career grand slam at the Masters, is now determined to top the points charts.

McIlroy knows unseating Koepka would prove he is the best player in the world, and he believes he can string the results together to achieve the feat.

"I feel like when I'm playing my best, I'm the best player in the world," McIlroy told Sky Sports after carding a three-under 67 in the first round at the European Masters.

"I'd like to get back there. It's been a goal of mine for a while. I haven't experienced that summit for the last four years.

"So I feel like with the work that I'm putting in and the consistent golf that I'm playing, hopefully it's only a matter of time."

McIlroy had six birdies and three bogeys on Thursday at the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club in Switzerland, a setting he considered ideal following the rigours of the Tour Championship.

"I think if I have to play a tournament this week, I wouldn't want to play anywhere else," he said. "That's the way I'd put it.

"It's a beautiful place and I'm glad I'm back after all these years. Hopefully I can play a bit of good golf over the next three days and give myself a chance."

Assessing his round, McIlroy added: "I played well on the back nine, which was our front nine. To play that nine in three under I thought was good.

"I took advantage of a couple of the shorter par-fours on the front nine but I made a couple of bogeys there as well. Overall, it was OK.

"It's so different to the golf I've been playing the past few weeks. I'm just trying to adjust and get used to these sort of greens again and how far the ball is going and what the ball is going to do out of the rough."

Brooks Koepka edged Rory McIlroy to win a second straight PGA of America Player of the Year Award.

World number one Koepka claimed three victories during the 2018-19 PGA Tour season, winning The CJ Cup at Nine Bridges, US PGA Championship and WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

While McIlroy won the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup title on Sunday, he was edged by Koepka to the player of the year crown.

Koepka finished with 84 points, ahead of McIlroy (78) with Patrick Cantlay and U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland (42) well back.

The American is the first player to win back-to-back PGA of America Player of the Year crowns since Tiger Woods (2006 and 2007).

McIlroy did claim a prize, winning the Vardon Trophy for being the leader in adjusted scoring average.

The Northern Irishman added to his 2012 and 2014 titles with an adjusted average of 69.057, beating Cantlay (69.306) and Webb Simpson (69.377).

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