Two victories in 237 events. Not the greatest European Tour career, you might think. But when Anders Hansen wins, he wins big.
Two victories in 237 events. Not the greatest European Tour career, you might think.
But when Danish golfer Anders Hansen wins, he wins big.
The 36-year-old is one of the happiest men in sport today after ending his long drought by capturing the Tour’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth for the second time in six years.
Hansen’s 2002 victory, by five shots over Colin Montgomerie with a then record 19 under par total, earned him £333,330.
That remained his career best until last night when he was handed a cheque for £495,848.
It was a lot harder work than the first success, though.
Hansen was eight behind after an opening 74, still five back with a round to go, but sank a seven-foot putt on the last to be in a play-off with England’s Justin Rose and won it with a 20-footer for another birdie.
In an event boasting five of the world’s top 10 – Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Henrik Stenson, Retief Goosen and Luke Donald – Hansen won from 151st in the rankings.
Five years ago he stood 141st.
“This means a lot more than the first time,” he said. “Then I was playing really good coming in, but a lot of things have happened since and I’ve not played great this year.”
All but one of his previous 10 tournaments have been in America after he came through their qualifying school last December, but he has not had a single top-20 finish and is languishing in 170th place on the money list.
“I’ve just kept shooting myself in foot. I’ve also missed my kids – I have family in Denmark and it’s really hard being away from them,” he added.
“But I’m not giving up in America. When you commit to something you’ve got to stick with it.
“You can’t just bunk off. My parents always taught me that when you say yes to something you do it. You don’t stick your tail between your legs and go off if you don’t like it.
“But I want to play in Europe because it’s closer to home and I’m just more comfortable here.”
He is definitely in the Open at Carnoustie in July as PGA winner and was waiting for confirmation today that he also has a place in next month’s US Open by climbing all the way into the world’s top 50.
There is also a five-year European Tour exemption and he has moved up from 262nd on the Order of Merit to ninth.
Only seven other players – Nick Faldo (4), Peter Alliss (3), Bernhard Langer (3), Colin Montgomerie (3), Seve Ballesteros (2), Ian Woosnam (2) and Tony Jacklin (2) -have won the flagship event more than once and that is not bad company to join.
It should also be pointed out that Ernie Els and Vijay Singh have not won it once in 12 attempts each.
Singh had a chance yesterday when he posted a seven under total with a 66, especially with overnight leaders Paul Broadhurst and Ross Fisher crashing horrendously to 80 and 84 respectively.
Hansen then denied the Fijian with his closing 69 and went on to deny Rose as well when they returned to the 18th hole.
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