Rory McIlroy secured his first European Tour victory for 18 months in scintillating style as a closing round of 66 carried him to the BMW PGA Championship title.
McIlroy ignited his final day charge at a sunkissed Wentworth Club with an eagle at the fourth hole, and after reaching the turn in 34 he reeled off five birdies on the back nine – including successive gains from the 17th – to finish on 14 under par.
McIlroy’s victory, which was the first by an Irishman in The European Tour’s flagship event since Harry Bradshaw in 1958, earned the 25 year old €791,660 and moved him to second place in The Race to Dubai.
Shane Lowry pushed his fellow Irishman all the way, but in the end he had to settle for second place on 13 under par, one stroke clear of two-time BMW PGA Champion Luke Donald (70) and overnight leader Thomas Björn, who triple-bogeyed the sixth hole en route to signing off with a round of 75.
“I played well all week. I thought my short game was really good today when it needed to be, and I converted my chances when I got them. It feels great to win on The European Tour again. It’s been 18 months since my last win in Dubai 2012, so it’s probably overdue,” McIlroy said.
“It’s nice to win again, and it’s obviously a great event to win obviously. It’s The European Tour’s flagship event here at Wentworth, so it doesn’t get much better than that.”
The win gives McIlroy his sixth European Tour International Schedule victory in his 134th European Tour event, and moves him to second place in The Race to Dubai with earnings of €1,295,825. It is his first European Tour victory since the 2012 DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, and he becomes the first player from Northern Ireland to win the BMW PGA Championship.
For Lowry, the runner-up finish was disappointing, but he takes some positives away from the event.
“To be honest, I feel very unlucky. I felt like I hit some great shots coming in, and I hit probably the best five-iron of my whole year to the 15th but ended up making bogey, which is a bit annoying, especially after bouncing back from a double with a birdie.
“But to hole the putt on the last and to finish second on my own is really nice. It’s given me a lot of World Ranking points and a lot of Race to Dubai points, as well. So a lot of positives to take from the week.”
Australian Richard Green finished T16 at -6, while Brett Rumford missed the cut at +7 (73, 78).