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Fantastic Francesco soars to BMW PGA Championship victory

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Francesco Molinari claimed a maiden Rolex Series victory at the BMW PGA Championship after the Italian soared to a two-stroke triumph courtesy of a flawless four under par final round 68.

Tied for the lead with four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy heading into the final round, Molinari was composure personified as his Northern Irish playing partner struggled and the 35 year old from Turin never let his guard down after back-to-back birdies at the third and fourth moved him clear at the top.


A second successive bogey-free round of the weekend and a 17 under total handed Molinari a fifth European Tour title and the largest prize fund of his career, with the 1,166,660 Race to Dubai points moving him to third position in the year-long Rankings.

The win also gives Molinari a timely boost in his hopes of making a third Ryder Cup appearance this September - with points earned in Rolex Series events multiplied by 1.5, he catapulted himself to fourth in the European Points List and into the projected automatic qualification spots.

McIlroy, meanwhile, endured a frustrating final day at the pristine Surrey venue but birdies at both of the final two holes earned him a two under 70, a runner-up finish on a 15 under total and a fourth top five in five European Tour starts this season.

Alex Noren, meanwhile, rounded off an impressive title defence with a 67 for a 14 under total and a share of third spot, alongside Lucas Bjerregaard of Denmark, who carded his second 65 of the week for the biggest pay cheque of his career.

Molinari shared, “It never feels like it’s your year but it’s great to come out on top after being close so many times down the years. It was just a great week. To be honest when I saw Rory three ahead after two days I thought it was going to be very tough to catch him but the wind probably assisted me yesterday. Today was another very solid day for me and it was just enough to get it over the line.

“If you have a lead here, the two par fives to finish are probably the worst possible finishing holes but I tried to stay aggressive up until the 16th. At the 17th, once I drove into the rough it was a lay-up and I didn’t get the wedge close enough for a proper chance.

“I thought at the 18th if I could just make five, I’m sure Rory is not going to make two to tie me. But it wasn’t a great lay-up, leaving myself in between clubs. You don’t want to go long with the flag there and I had just a bit of luck at the right time.

“I feel drained now so I can’t think about next week in Italy too much but I’ll have a couple of days off and try to recover as much as possible. It will be a busy week but hopefully I can play similar golf to this week and be in contention again. It will be great to go back after a win like this and see so many familiar faces and celebrate with them.”