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Wood holds firm to land Wentworth glory

Englishman wins BMW PGA Championship thanks to stunning front nine

Chris Wood came through an attritional final day to claim the biggest win of his career at the BMW PGA Championship.

The 28-year-old Englishman stormed into the lead by matching Danny Willett’s tournament-record front nine 29 from Friday, and at that stage led by four from clubhouse leader Rikard Karlberg, who had burst through the field with a sensational 65 to reach eight under par at Wentworth Club.

A wayward tee shot on the tenth saw Wood drop his first shot of the day, and although he bounced back with a birdie on the 11th after his approach spun back to a couple of feet, he was loose off the tee again at the 12th and registered three bogeys in four holes from the 14th.

That left him just one ahead of Swede Karlberg on the 18th tee, but Wood completed a par five with relative ease to card a closing 69 and nine-under-par total.

Speaking after his securing his third European Tour title, a relieved Wood said: “It’s huge, because my friends and family are here. It’s amazing. To win in front of them was unreal.

“It’s hard to win, as I’ve proved. I did not look at a leaderboard all day but when you are making lots of birdies on a tricky day you know you are there or thereabouts.

“On the 18th I had 196 yards to the front and I immediately thought six iron, but my caddie said ‘Do you want to know the situation?’

“I said I’ll put it in your hands and he said I’d like you to lay up. It seems silly hitting sand wedge, sand wedge into 18 but as soon as he told me to lay up, I knew probably five was enough. I can rest easy now and enjoy it now.”

Karlberg finished second after an exceptional round that featured an ace on the second, while Masters Tournament champion Willett, who had been 12 under for the week through 27 holes, shot a closing 71 to finish third on seven under. 

In testing conditions, plenty of players found themselves contesting the title only to fall away.

Overnight leader Scott Hend double-bogeyed the opening hole and went to the turn in 41, German Martin Kaymer eagled the fourth to get into contention only to slip out of the frame after a double bogey two holes later following a poor drive, and Tyrrell Hatton, who was one behind overnight and playing with Hend in the final group, dropped three shots in as many holes around the turn.

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