Italian Francesco Molinari moved up to third in the Race to Dubai Rankings after a sensational display saw him claim his fifth European Tour title at the first Rolex Series event of the 2018 season, the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club, England
Molinari, who has finished in the top ten at this event in five of the last six seasons, started the tournament brightly with a two-under-par 70 before carding stunning rounds of 67, 66 and 68 to finish top of the pile and two ahead of three-time Race to Dubai champion Rory McIlroy. The 35 year old receives 1,166,660 Race to Dubai points for his triumph and moves from 36th to third in the Race to Dubai Rankings with a total 1,487,976 points ensuring he will feature in the European Tour’s season finale DP World Tour Championship taking place at Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai from November 15-18.
“Many congratulations to Francesco on a stunning performance at the BMW PGA Championship,” said Nick Tarratt, Director European Tour International, Dubai. “We are delighted to be welcoming back the Italian for the DP World Tour Championship and wish him all the best in the coming months in what will be a busy summer with the European Tour’s Rolex Series in full swing.”
The former Italian Open winner came into the final round tied for the lead with Northern Irishman McIlroy on 13-under-par but got off to a quick start with three birdies on the opening nine holes to take the outright lead. Molinari never looked back and picked up another shot on the back nine for a bogey free round to finish on 17-under-par. The win sees him go one better than his second-place finish in 2017 to join Costantino Rocco as the most prolific Italian winner in European Tour history with five titles.
“It's amazing to finally get the win here,” said Molinari who has his sights set on making Thomas Bjorn’s European Ryder Cup team. "I've been so close on many occasions. If I could pick one tournament to win in my career it would be the BMW PGA Championship so to finally get over the line was amazing. I can't wait to be back next year.
"I came into this week knowing that I was a long way back in the Ryder Cup rankings 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."
Meanwhile, McIlroy’s second place saw him pick up 777,770 Race to Dubai Points which moves him from to sixth to second in the Race to Dubai Rankings on 1,731,875 points.
Sweden’s Alex Noren made his way into the Race to Dubai top five after another impressive performance at the event he won last year. Noren shot a superb final round 67 to finish in a tie for third which saw him receive 394,100 Race to Dubai points. The 35 year old moves from 12th to fifth with a season total of 1,487,976.
Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard made significant moves in the Race to Dubai Rankings after joining Noren in a tie for third finish. Bjerregaard also picks up 394,100 points which sees him rocket from 73rd to 21st with a season tally of 562,30 and a DP World Tour Championship spot firmly in his sights.
Patrick Reed remains top of the Race to Dubai Rankings with 2,216,000 points whilst Shubhankar Sharma drops from second to seventh on 1,079,898. Defending Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood falls from third to sixth despite picking up 77,100 points for a tied 20th finish.
The DP World Tour Championship, Dubai takes place at Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 15-18.