Francesco Molinari produced bogey-free final-round 68 at Wentworth to win the 2018 BMW PGA Championship by two strokes over Rory McIlroy.
The 35-year old Italian entered Sunday with a share of the lead with McIlroy but after birdies on Nos. 3 and 4 he went up two and never looked back. A pair of gains on Nos. 8 and 12 gave Molinari a four-shot edge, and allowed him to cruise home with six-straight pars to sign for a four-day score of 17-under par total.
McIlroy birdied Nos. 17 and 18 to post a 70 and get to 15-under par, one clear of defending champion Alex Noren (67) and Dane Lucas Bjerregaard (65).
“It’s amazing,” said Molinari, who last won at the 2016 Italian Open.
“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.”
The win was Molinari’s first Rolex Series title, and fifth career European Tour victory, which places him alongside Costantino Rocca as the most successful Italian in Tour history.
Molinari will head into next week’s Italian Open, an event he’s twice won, as a prohibitive favorite.
FINAL TOP 10
1 Francesco Molinari -17
2 Rory McIlroy -15
3 Lucas Bjerregaard -14
3 Alex Noren -14
5 Kiradech Aphibarnrat -13
5 Branden Grace -13
7 Darren Fichardt -12
8 Matthew Fitzpatrick -10
8 Rafael Cabrera Bello -10
8 Thongchai Jaidee -10
8 Ross Fisher -10
VIDEO: WINNING MOMENT
“Yeah, I feel drained now, so I can’t really think about next week, but yeah, I’ll have a couple of days off and try to recover as much as possible. It will be a busy week, I’m sure, but yeah, hopefully I can play similar golf to this week and be in contention again. Obviously it would be great to go back after a win like this to see many familiar faces, and just celebrate with them.”
– Francesco Molinari