Friday, 19 March 2010

Miguel Angel Jiménez completed the BMW set when he won the BMW PGA Championship with a birdie on the second hole of sudden-death to deny England’s Oliver Wilson his maiden title.

Jiménez, who won both the 2004 BMW Asian Open and the 2004 BMW International Open, became the first player to claim the BMW treble when he tapped in for a winning birdie after tying Wilson on 11 under par 277 in the regulation 72 holes.

It was the climax to a day of high drama on the famous West Course at Wentworth Club when the lead swung back and forth.

But ultimately it was Jiménez, after a final round of four under par 68, who emerged with the trophy and his 15th European Tour title. It was his second victory of the season after his win in the UBS Hong Kong Open last November and the €750,000 first prize lifted him to the top of The European Tour Order of Merit with €1,342,675. He is also on course for Valhalla after moving top of The Ryder Cup Points List.

His victory continues a wonderful record in the Tour’s flagship event following top fives in the last two seasons, and the hole-in-one on the fifth hole was simply the icing on the cake.

“It feels great,” said Jimenez as he lit his first cigar. “I have won all three. This is my 20th season on the Tour and to win the most important tournament on The European Tour on my 20th anniversary, is great, fantastic.”

For Wilson, there was heartbreak as he came agonisingly close to winning his first European Tour title but, once again had to settle for second, his fourth runners-up finish of a remarkably consistent season. The 27 year old has the unenviable record of seven runners-up finishes without a victory but surely his time will come before long.

“You know, that hurts a little,” conceded Wilson. “I had not been in a play-off for a while.  It's better than not being in one at all I suppose.  But it's great to be here in this tournament.  It's the biggest tournament apart from the Majors that we play in.  I think things might change a little bit now, but to compete in this tournament, which is a fantastic tournament, that's what I wanted to do and that's sort of the next progression.”

Karlsson, who looked so dominant for three days but cold never get going on the final round, narrowly missed out on the play-off. A birdie on the 16th kept his hopes alive and he had a putt from three feet tie with Jiménez and Wilson in the play-off but it lipped out, as did his return and the Swede finished tied for third with England’s Luke Donald, who recorded a brilliant round of 65, the best of the day, for a nine under par total of 279.

India’s Jyoti Randhawa also performed with distinction, a final round of 70 earning him a fifth place finish on eight under par 280.

Jiménez started the final round tied with Wilson and both players came racing out of the blocks as they chased down Karlsson’s four stroke lead. Jiménez made the most dramatic assault, following birdies on the third and fourth with a magnificent ace on the fifth, holing his four iron from 187 yards. Two hops and in it went and in one bold strike, Jiménez was in front.

Wilson was also making steady progress, picking up four birdies in the front nine to match Jiménez’s outward half of 31. Jiménez edged ahead with a birdie on the 13th but somehow missed from a foot for par on the 15th as Wilson birdied for a two stroke swing.

More drama followed when Wilson drove into the trees on the 17th on his way to making a bogey sixth and when he parred the last Jiménez had victory in his sights. He pushed his second to last right of the green and needing a chip and putt to win, duffed his first attempt before making par to move into extra time.

With nothing separating them, the two players returned to the 18th to continue the drama. With Wilson in the greenside bunker in two and Jiménez on the back of the green, the Spaniard had the upper hand but he three putted for a five, matched by Wilson.

At the second time of asking Jiménez again played a perfect drive and was on in two but Wilson, as he did on the 72nd hole, pushed his drive right and was forced to lay up. He pitched to 12 feet but his putt slid by and Jiménez safely two putted for a birdie four and the title.

Jimenez, like a fine wine, continues to get better with age and he produced another vintage performance to mark his 20th anniversary on Tour.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
T1WILSON, OliverENG18-11
T1JIMÉNEZ, Miguel AngelESP18-11
T3DONALD, LukeENG18-9
T3KARLSSON, RobertSWE18-9
5RANDHAWA, JyotiIND18-8
T6NOREN, AlexanderSWE18-7
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