What happened at the BMW PGA Championship?

It’s been a long time coming, but Francesco Molinari is finally a winner at Wentworth.

The Italian must have wondered what it would take to get over the line – in his last six appearances here at European Tour HQ, Molinari has finished inside the top-10 five times. Last year, only Alex Noren – who fired a mind-boggling 62 in the final round – got the better of him.

Nobody would catch him this time, though. Starting the final round tied with Rory McIlroy, Molinari posted a bogey-free round of 68 to run out a two-shot winner and claim his fifth European Tour title.

The 35-year-old got things started with birdies at the 3rd and 4th, and then went on to play almost error-free golf with further birdies at the 8th and 12th.

The only scare came at the infamous par-5 18th. After laying up, his approach found the middle of the green but spun back off the front edge, narrowly missing the water hazard.

Not known for being a prolific winner, this was a clinic in ball-striking and how to play while facing the pressure of being in contention.

It was made all the more impressive that this level of performance came in the Rolex Series opener, as Molinari takes home £880,000 and joins an illustrious list of winners here at the spiritual home of the European Tour.

Full BMW PGA Championship leaderboard

Talking point

While Molinari eased to the title, the majority of attention was placed on his playing partner, Rory McIlroy.

At one point on Friday, it looked as though McIlroy was preparing himself to run away with the tournament.

But a poor round on Saturday was followed by an equally poor round on Sunday as McIlroy took himself out of contention with back-to-back bogeys while making the turn.

In truth, a final score of 15-under-par flattered the Northern Irishman.

The majority of the day was spent hitting wayward drives and errant approach shots, with a tidy short game bailing him out.

It’s been over 10 years since McIlroy turned professional, and he’s amassed 23 worldwide wins, including four major championships.

Yet, in that time, the 29-year-old still hasn’t been able to figure out how to win ‘ugly’.

The golf course

It would be fair to say that the West Course at Wentworth has been on the receiving end of a fair bit of criticism in recent years.

Finally, they seem to have got things right. The greens in particular have been a revelation. This year’s renewal was the second playing of the tournament since the new renovation, led by Ernie Els.

“There has been added anticipation to come back for this year’s event,” said Els, who won a record seven World Match Play titles on Wentworth’s West Course.

“Obviously, this club and this golf course have always had a very special place in my heart, right back to the start of my career. But I must say, the sense of pride for us as architects of this renovation, seeing the course presented the way it is this week, makes it even more special than before. The ‘new’ look debuted last year, we’d heard it was in incredible shape and I just really wanted to see it for myself. It’s great to be back.”

“Literally everything is now just as we envisaged it. And seriously, these must be the best putting surfaces in the country. They are incredible! It’s so nice to see and, of course, it’s great to hear the positive comments from the players this week and from the members who love it, too.”

Best quote

Francesco Molinari:

I’ve been so close so many times. If I had to pick one tournament to win it would be this one.

Best moments