Anders Hansen rewrote the record books with a stunning victory in the Volvo PGA Championship at Wentworth Club.
The weather conditions for the final day on the West Course might have been dismal but nothing could dampen the delight of the 31 year old Dane who became the first player in history to make the flagship event of The European Tour his maiden victory.
Hansen’s closing 70 for a 19 under par total of 269 was the lowest winning score in the history of the event at Wentworth Club, beating the previous best of 270 held jointly by Bernhard Langer (1987) and Colin Montgomerie (1999).
The Dane started the day at 17 under par 199, also the lowest 54 hole total since 1984, leaving the only Championship record to remain intact at the end being Langer’s six stroke winning margin attained in 1993. Hansen won by five shots from Colin Montgomerie and Eduardo Romero with Michael Campbell, Nick Faldo and Carlos Rodiles tied for fourth a further two shots behind.
Hansen’s victory gave him a cheque for 528,708 euro (£333,330) and moved him from 27th on the Volvo Order of Merit to fourth. It also gave him a five year exemption on The European Tour and a guaranteed spot in July’s Open Championship at Muirfield.
“This is the biggest moment of my golfing career, it is unbelievable,” said a delighted Hansen, who became the ninth first time winner on the 2002 European Tour International Schedule and who was congratulated at the rear of the 18th green by his fellow Dane Thomas Björn.
“I don’t know what this will do for my golfing career but hopefully I can go on to further successes. It was really great to see Thomas there at the end. He has been a good friend to me and I know he is delighted to see what I have achieved here.”
Any nerves Hansen was feeling were aided greatly by a birdie at the short second and although he dropped a shot at the third, another birdie at the fourth put him back on track and he reached the turn in one under par 34.
Although he dropped shots at the 12th and 15th on the way home, birdies at the tenth, 14th and 17th ensured the chasing pack did not get close enough to pose a serious threat and when he stood on the final tee he had five shots to spare.
Joint runner-up Colin Montgomerie continued to bravely battle his lower back pain to card a final round 67 for a 14 under par total of 274. The 38 year old Scot, who birdied the last two holes, spoke in glowing praise of the new champion at the prizegiving ceremony.
“I know what it is like to stand here with this trophy and I just want to congratulate one of the up and coming stars of The European Tour for his victory and for his record winning total. Well done Anders.”
Alongside Montgomerie, Eduardo Romero looked unlikely to figure in the final shake up when he double bogeyed the long fourth hole after an errant tee shot caused him to lose his ball.
But the winner of seven tournaments on The European Tour International Schedule battled back in fine style, picking up four shots in three holes from the tenth before closing with a birdie four on the 18th for a 68.
“I’m very happy,” he said. “My goal was to get to the Open Championship and I’ve done it. I feel fantastic. I have been playing well all year, who knows, maybe soon I’ll win again.”
Of the trio in fourth place, the best score was posted by Michael Campbell who carded a 67 for 12 under par 276, Nick Faldo posting a 69 while Carlos Rodiles returned a 72 after making bogey six at the last.
Faldo knew he had to finish second to ensure his place in next month’s US Open Championship at Bethpage State Park but despite a gallant effort, his final round fell just short of what was required.
Elsewhere, the best performance of the final day came from Australia’s Jarrod Moseley who equalled Wayne Riley and Angel Cabrera’s course record 63 for an 11 under par total of 277, the lowest final round in the history of the event at Wentworth Club. It moved the 29 year old from 35th at the start of the day into a tie for seventh.
Incredibly, Moseley even included a dropped shot in his round, coming at the 467 yard 13th courtesy of an errant drive, but more than made up for it with ten birdies, including four in the last five holes.
“Hopefully this will kick start my season,” said Moseley. “I am feeling a lot better about my game. I’ve had a new caddy in the last six weeks and I’ve also been working hard on preparing mentally and also on the range.”