Molinari outduels McIlroy to triumph at BMW PGA

Francesco Molinari outperformed playing partner Rory McIlroy at the BMW PGA Championship on Sunday to claim one of the biggest wins of his career.

McIlroy and Molinari started the final round with a four-shot lead over the rest of the field, but while Molinari thrived under the pressure, McIlroy endured another disappointing day.

Staying cool as a cucumber throughout, Molinari picked up four birdies in a bogey-free, four-under-par 68 to clinch a two-shot win on 17 under.

McIlroy’s chances were effectively ended by back-to-back bogeys at the ninth and 10th. Coming as they did after Molinari had taken the sole lead with birdies at the third, fourth and eighth, it handed the Italian a four-shot lead down the stretch.

And even though McIlroy was able to finish strongly with successive birdies at 17 and 18, it wasn’t enough to stop a rock-solid Molinari from coasting to a two-shot win.

Molinari had finished in the top ten at this event in five of the last six seasons – including a second place last year – so this victory was a long time coming.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “I’ve been close so many times. If I could pick one tournament to win in my career it would be this one so to finally get over the line was amazing. I can’t wait to be back next year.

“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy with Rory today, he probably didn’t play his best but I still knew he was going to charge back the last few holes.

“I came into this week knowing that I was a long way back in the Ryder Cup and that something pretty special needed to happen. We are halfway there and next week is another important week from that point of view and hopefully another successful week for me.”


McIlroy ultimately signed for a two-under-par 70 that saw him secure sole second place a shot ahead of Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard and defending champion Alex Noren, who both made big moves on the final day with rounds of 65 and 67 respectively.

Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat and South African Branden Grace were a shot further back in fifth, ahead of another South African in Darren Fichardt.

Finishing in tied-eighth were Matthew Fitzpatrick, Ross Fisher, Thongchai Jaidee and Rafa Cabrera Bello.