Rolex Series

BMW PGA Championship: The debrief

Ryan Fox emerged from a stacked leaderboard of world-class stars including a host of Rome-bound Ryder Cup players to win the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club.

Here is everything you need to know from a riveting week of Rolex Series action on the DP World Tour.

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Fox wins first Rolex Series title

Ryan Fox won his first Rolex Series title as he birdied the last to post a closing 67 and lift the trophy at the BMW PGA Championship.

In doing so he became the first player from New Zealand to win the prestigious tournament and the first from his country to win a Rolex Series title.

Trailing by three shots heading into Sunday’s final round, Fox suffered an early blow to his hopes of victory with a triple-bogey seven at the third.

But the 36-year-old covered his last 13 holes in eight under par to win by shot from English duo Tyrrell Hatton and Aaron Rai, who lipped out for an eagle on the 72nd green.

For Fox, who claimed last season’s Seve Ballesteros Award after twice winning on Tour, it built on his top-three finish at the Horizon Irish Open and lifts him to third on the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex.

"I'm immensely proud," he said. "It's such an iconic tournament.

"I know Michael Campbell has won around here when it was the match play event and to add to that history here and create some of my own is very special.”

Ryder Cup stars show form

A key narrative both in the build-up and during the event was the participation of all 12 members of Europe’s Ryder Cup side.

The entire team made the cut, as did Captain Luke Donald, with many in contention for victory across the weekend over the West Course.

In fact, by the time the final round finished, seven of the team that will aim to reclaim the Ryder Cup trophy at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club had finished in the top 10.

Among those was 2014 BMW PGA champion Rory McIlroy, who surged through the field with a 65 to finish in a share of seventh place.

Ahead of the Northern Irishman were Tommy Fleetwood, Viktor Hovland, Jon Rahm – who again narrowly missed out on a Wentworth win – and runner-up Tyrrell Hatton, a past event winner from 2020.

Ludvig Åberg, one of four rookies in Donald's team, led the tournament after 54 holes and finished tied in tenth place with fellow rookie Sepp Straka.

Elsewhere, rookie Robert MacIntyre finished in 45th place after a closing two-under 70 and is the only member of the team in the field for this week's Cazoo Open de France.

Hatton buoyed by Wentworth performance before Rome

Hatton admitted to “mixed emotions” at missing out on a record-equalling fifth Rolex Series in a dramatic climax in Surrey.

The Englishman clenched his fist in delight at holing a birdie putt from ten feet at the 18th to card a six-under 66 and set the clubhouse target of 17 under that was immediately match by playing partner Rai.

But, just as thoughts of a play-off grew, Fox delivered a grandstand finish as he hit a pitch to six feet and confidently rolled in the putt to seal a hard-fought victory.

Despite the disappointment of coming so close to becoming just the eighth player to win the event on more than one occasion, Hatton was prioritising on the positives.

“It's definitely mixed emotions,” said Hatton, whose win at the 2020 BMW PGA Championship was without fans due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “It was nice to have a great week, and now I get ready for the Ryder Cup. So, I take some confidence from that into that week.

"But it was nice to be in it; this tournament means a lot to me. Would have been nice to win with fans, especially my dad being here, that would have been cool.”

On the prospect of playing at his third Ryder Cup in Italy later this month, the six-time DP World Tour winner added: “Just to have that team sort of bond and the atmosphere that we create in that team room is amazing, and we all follow other sports outside of golf.

“Sort of envy the guys that have the team bond, and for us to do it once every two years is great. We love the week.

“It's definitely one of the most special weeks that you can have in your career. I'm really excited to be part of Team Europe [again].”

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Åberg produces another impressive showing on Wentworth bow

In advance of last week’s event, Ludvig Åberg was the talk of almost all his Ryder Cup teammates after they had enjoyed a one-day team trip to Rome last Monday.

After the opening round, the 23-year-old admitted he almost had to pinch himself as he shared the some of the limelight in the company of McIlroy and Hovland on his BMW PGA Championship debut.

The Swede looked a picture of composure over the first three days but was unable to sustain his high levels as he fell short in his bid for back-to-back wins on Tour.

After leading by two at the start of the final day, he had to settle for a share of tenth place after a closing 76 that included two double-bogeys in his opening seven holes.

Victory at the Omega European Masters in Switzerland earlier this month – in just his ninth event as a professional – earned him a Captain’s Pick for the Ryder Cup and he will now make his final preparations over the coming days before his first participation in golf’s greatest team contest.

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Popert wins again and PGA Tour legend makes debut on G4D Tour at Wentworth

Kipp Popert claimed his third win in a row on the G4D Tour after successfully defending his title at Wentworth.

The World Number One golfer with a disability began the final day two strokes behind overnight leader Tommaso Perrino after a first-round 74, but carded five birdies and two bogeys on the second day of action to finish the tournament on one under par.

That was good enough for a five-shot win as he sealed his eighth G4D Tour since its inception last year.

"I played really well today. Hit it really good," the Englishman said of his latest success.

"I gave myself a lot of really good looks out there. Just had a few misreads but I'm really pleased with how I played and (caddie) Ben and I did a good job as always.

Victory – his fourth of the season – extended his lead at the top of the standings ahead of the season finale at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai in November.

Also in the field and making his debut, was five-time PGA Tour winner and 1989 U.S. Ryder Cup player Ken Green, who was participating as an amputee golfer following a tragic motor home accident in 2009 that resulted in the loss of his partner, his brother and his dog.

Green learnt how to play with a prosthetic, and made his return to competition at the 2022 Adaptive U.S. Open. And after being invited to play this week, he jumped at the chance, aligning with his desire to help others find their inner strength to keep going when life becomes inescapably difficult.

Now, he's considering what it would mean for him to really start practicing and commit to the G4D schedule.

“I didn't know they had this prior to maybe six months ago. So when I get back home, I'm going to have to sit down and really decide, alright, do I want to try to get to number one? Now I got an age problem.

"That's kind of a killer trying to beat the kids here, but kids are kids. It doesn't matter what you're playing, but I have a lot of advantages that they don't have.

"I'm see-sawing, but I have got a feeling I'm going to lean towards giving it a shot.”

Green finished his week with rounds of 77 and 80, in a tie for seventh.

Driving golf further

As is regular on the DP World Tour, the fourth Rolex Series event of the season saw a raft of activations under the European Tour group’s Golf for Good initiative.

In a world-first for a sporting event, the tournament at Wentworth was the first television production powered entirely by green hydrogen – producing zero emissions.

Campaign Against Living Miserably [CALM] was the event’s official charity partner again this year, with £24,450 raised as a result of a £10 contribution for every birdie and £100 for each eagle carded across the week.

There were also a series of visits by local school children in collaboration with Tour partner Fortinet, clinics held by EDGA for Special Olympics Great Britain and the Muslim Golf Association, while the Golf Foundation launched their new initiative ‘Unleash Your Drive’.

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