Rory McIlroy ended 18 months of frustration on Sunday at The BMW PGA Championship when he got some help from the sixth hole to secure his first European Tour victory since the 2012 DP World Tour Championships, Duabai. The 24 year-old former number one was able to make up seven strokes for his second win in 2014.
On a day when the sun broke through at The Wentworth Club for the first time all week, Rory McIlroy looked to have his swagger back, and more importantly, his putting stroke. Rory’s best finish at Wentworth was a fifth place tie in 2009, and was the first win for a Northern Irishman at the European Tour’s flagship event.
Starting his day seven strokes back of 54-hole leader, Thomas Bjorn, McIlroy did his part, closing with a six under par 66. He got some help at the sixth hole when both Bjorn, and playing partner, two-time BMW champ, Luke Donald put up triple bogeys. That left fellow countryman, Shane Lowry as the final hurdle.
McIlroy said: “It’s been 18 months since I won on The European Tour and to win the flagship event, I could not have asked for any more.
“I knew coming in here I was playing well. I struggled a little on Friday but played great over the weekend. I was a little fortunate that some of the guys ahead of me made mistakes and I took advantage of it.
With the victory at Virginia Water, Rory McIlroy jumps back into second place in The Race To Dubai, a championship he won in 2012. More importantly, Rory looks to have his game back on-track as the major season resumes next month at Pinehurst, and then again at Royal Liverpool.
Shane Lowry had a phenomenal tournament as well. He rallied back on the back nine on Sunday, but the double bogey at 13 left him one stroke short of a playoff. The bogey at 15, and the par at the par five 17th hole put the stake in his heart on a day where he played well enough to win.
The big disappointment on the day had to be Thomas Bjorn. The 43 year-old Dane let one get away on Sunday, but you can’t shoot 75 on Sunday and win with the caliber of the field at Wentworth. He struggled all week on the front nine, even on Thursday when he set a new course record 62. He went seven under on Saturday with six birdies in a row at one point.
Bjorn was able to make up shots on the back nine each day, but couldn’t get it going on Sunday. Bjorn still had a chance when he made the turn on Sunday, but bogeys at 14 and 15 left him two shots back in a tie with Luke Donald when the day was over.
A record 23,786 fans turned out on Sunday for 60th playing of this event, and were not disappointed at the finish. Total attendance at the 2014 BMW PGA Championship reached 93,913, with the breakdown over all five days as follows: 23,786 on Sunday (Round 4); 19,244 on Saturday (Round 3); 22,003 on Friday (Round 2); 17,130 on Thursday (Round 1); 17,130 on Wednesday (Celebrity Pro-Am).