South Korea’s An Byeong-hun produced a stellar closing round of seven-under-par 65 to secure an impressively dominant victory in the BMW PGA Championship over the West Course at Wentworth.
The 23-year-old won the European Tour’s flagship event by six shots from Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee and Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain.
The South Korean youngster began the final day tied for the lead with Italy’s Francesco Molinari but it was 45-year-old Jaidee who emerged as the early challenger to An. The Thai golfer fired off three straight birdies from the 5th.
On the run for home An turned on the afterburners. With a birdie at the 11th and then a tap-in eagle on the 12th, he took the tournament by the scruff of the neck. Further gains at the 15th and 17th holes put him out of touch and he could enjoy a relaxed stroll down the 18th fairway towards his first European Tour title and a cheque for over €800,000.
Four things we learned at the BMW PGA Championship:
1 – An Byeong-hun announced himself as a new star on the professional golfing stage. He was born in South Korea in 1991, both of his parents were table tennis aces – medallists at the 1988 Olympic Games. In 2005 An moved to the USA to attend the David Leadbetter Golf Academy in Bradenton Florida. Ben An, as he was known there, went on to become the youngest ever winner of the U.S. Amateur Championship when he took the title in 2009 at the age of 17. He turned professional in 2011 and has worked his way up through the European Challenge Tour. This victory will push him into the top-60 on the Official World Golf Ranking and earn him a place in next month’s U.S. Open.
2 – Miguel Angel Jimenez continues to show age is no barrier to golfing success at the highest level. The 51-year-old played an excellent closing round of 67 to finish in second place for the second week running on the European Tour. He was also runner-up in the Open de Espana in Barcelona last week. Jimenez has climbed to eighth place on the Race to Dubai Ranking. He is also back into the top-50 on the Official World Golf Ranking.
Related: Miguel Angel Jimenez warm-up routine
3 – It was a good week for holes-in-one. Jimenez got one of them – at the second hole in round three. It was his third of the season and his second in as many weeks. It was his 10th on the European Tour – a record on the circuit. Incredibly, there were four further aces during the week, by Craig Lee (below), Andrew Johnston, Trevor Fisher Jr. and Chris Wood. That final one by Wood was significant as it came on the 14th hole in the final round and moved him well up the leaderboard, he finished alone in fourth. It also won the Englishman a £100,000 BMW i8 hybrid sports car.
4 – Shane Lowry will take great confidence into his home open at Royal County Down next week. The Irishman didn’t make a single bogey over his final 54 holes at Wentworth and displayed some magic around the greens. Lowry won the Irish Open in 2009 as an amateur when he beat England’s Robert Rock in a playoff.