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

Oleh John Skilbeck 23 September 2019 4
Wentworth joy for Willett as former Masters winner lands PGA Championship glory

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."

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