Danny Willett birdied his final two holes to win the BMW PGA Championship by three shots
Danny Willett outlasted Jon Rahm during a dramatic finale at Wentworth as he closed out the tournament with a five-under 67 to finish at 20-under-par.
Willett, who claimed his seventh European Tour title on Sunday, had been locked at the top heading in to the final round with Rahm but moved ahead with a birdie at the second and stayed ahead for the remainder of the contest, before closing his round out with back to back birdies.
“It doesn’t get much better does it?” Willett said afterwards, as he went on to call it “An emotional week.
“It was a good battle out there today with myself more than anyone else and it was nice to come through the other side.
“(I’ve had) an undying want to get back there. I was willing to change whatever had to be changed and I think that’s pretty hard to do, it’s hard to jump full throttle into something that you’re not quite sure if it’s going to work out or not.
“I was able to jump in there and I had the correct people around me. All the work that we’ve put in has come forward.”
Willett had been tied at the top of the leaderboard with Rahm since the second round, having matched 68s during round three to set up a final round battle at the European Tour’s flagship event.
It was the Englishman who made the first move in the wet conditions with birdies at both the second and third holes to open up a two shot lead, and although Rahm halved that defecit with his own birdie at the par-five fourth, Willett soon regained his advantage at the eighth to maintain a two-shot lead at the turn.
At the 10th, Rahm kept up the pressure with a birdie, only to be matched by Willett, but the pair would come closer after the former Masters champion was left scrambling for an impressive bogey after driving in to the trees at the 11th, limiting the damage with a huge 35-footer to keep a narrow lead.
With the lead at just one, it was the Spaniard’s time to make a mistake, finding a fairway bunker off the tee and dropping a shot at the par-five 12th, before making a birdie at 13 and another bogey at the 15th to keep the gap at two strokes.
As the pair traded pars at the next, South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout made a significant move up ahead with back-to-back birdies at the 16th and 17th to join Rahm at 16-under, with his efforts eventually leaving him in solo third.
Willett pitched to close range at the 17th to guarantee his fifth birdie of the day, and Rahm soon followed him with a birdie of his own from six feet.
At the par-five last, Willett hit a brilliant drive and a second shot to the middle of the green, while Rahm’s try ended up in the water short: The Spaniard managed to get up and down for par to earn his seventh top 10 in his last nine starts, but a two-putt birdie for Willett was more than enough to ensure a three stroke victory – and his first since his triumph at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai last year.
Behind Bezuidenhout, American duo Billy Horschel and Patrick Reed, who both made their Wentworth this week, finished tied for 4th at 15-under-par after rounds of 65 and 66 respectively.
Richie Ramsay and Rafa Cabrera Bello were a shot further back, with Justin Rose on 12-under in eighth and Rory McIlroy recovering from a bad first round to finish in a tie for ninth with Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston at 11-under.