BMW PGA Championship. Francesco Stands Firm.

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Francesco Molinari stands firm at the top of the BMW PGA Championship leaderboard at Wentworth Club.

BMW PGA Championship

Francesco Molinari / Getty Images

Francesco had to recover from a poor start, with two bogey’s in the first three holes, and was delighted to finally card a second round -3 under par 69, to remain at the top of the BMW PGA Championship with a -10 under par total;

“The start is really tricky the first three holes. I think I played them okay.”

“My chipping wasn’t good enough on the first and on the third to save par. I managed to steady the ship and made a few birdies coming in at the end, so a good day.”

“Obviously I’m delighted to have gone a little bit further under par from yesterday and just need to keep doing the same.”

“I know how hard I’ve been working the last few months, so it’s nice to see that it’s paying off on the course.”

In second place on his own is South Korean Byeong Hun An who returned a marvelous card of -8 under par 64 in the second round, to reach a -9 under par total.

Tied in third position at -8 under par are Emiliano Grillo and Jaidee Thongchai, the Argentine and Thai players making it a very international top of the leaderboard.

Emiliano Eagled the two par fives on the back nine, the 486 yard 12th and 539 yard 18th, and was enjoying his day;

BMW PGA Championship.

Emiliano Grillo / Getty Images

“I am enjoying the moment and playing well and being in contention is what I need.”

“If I keep knocking someone is going to open the door.”

“I’ve been looking for a win since I turned pro and it’s going to come soon. There’s a lot going on when you are in contention and you have to be prepared.”

“Playing well definitely pushes the confidence up and it’s nice to be on the leaderboard every week. This is a big week, the Flagship Event of The European Tour and it would be great to win.”

Best placed Englishman is James Morrison, who last week won the Spanish Open. James returned a second round score of -6 under par 66, which gave him a tournament total of -7 under par, and fifth place. James lives just 20 minutes from Wentworth Club, but discovered on Thursday evening that staying at home is not always an advantage, due to a power cut;

“I thought we had been burgled at first, I couldn’t even charge my phone and a cold shower this morning at 5:30 was no fun.”

World number one, and defending champion, Rory McIlroy carded a second round +6 over par 78, and missed the cut here at Wentworth, with a +5 over par 36 hole total.

He was in a hurry to leave the course, to get to Heathrow Airport;

“Flight to catch.”

“I’m not angry, a little disappointed I’m not going to be here for the weekend. I’m not going to read too much into it. It was inevitable at some point that the run was going to come to a bit of an end.”

“I’m sort of back to my usual at Wentworth. It wasn’t great before I won last year and it hasn’t been great after.”

“If anything good comes out of this, it’s just that I get a little bit of a rest over the next couple of days, and feel a bit fresher for what’s going to be a really big week for me next week.”

BMW PGA Championship

Disappointed Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

 

BMW PGA Championship. Francesco Leads.

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Francesco Molinari leads the first round of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club.

BMW PGA Championship.

Francesco Molinari / Getty Images

Francesco opened the BMW PGA Championship with a blistering -7 under par 65, hitting 17 out of the 18 greens in regulation, to lead by two shots on the first day at Wentworth.

“I think I missed one green on the third and chipped up to two feet, so it was as stress-free as it could be round here.”

“I love this place and it’s good to be back. It rewards accuracy, which suits my game.”

“I missed the Masters this year after 22 Majors in a row and it was not a nice feeling, so I hope I will be back soon.”

In second place is Robert Karlsson, with his first round -5 under par 67. Robert has some happy memories of Wentworth, shooting a course-record 62 in the third round in 2010, after having to hire a private jet to get back to London on Saturday morning, because he had flown home to Monaco the day before thinking he had missed the cut.

Third position is shared between five players; Jorge Campillo, Chris Wood, Y.E. Yang, Marc Warren and the oldest man in the field Miguel Angel Jiménez.

Chris has played just six events this season after spending five months on the sidelines with a broken bone in his wrist following a fall;

“It’s a long way for me to fall and it hurt.”

“It was misdiagnosed as bone bruising for a month and then I was in a cast for two months at home.”

“It was a nightmare because I fell out of the top 60 on The Race to Dubai and plummeted down the world rankings.”

It’s been a struggle and feels like I have been working hard to finish 30th every week. I did finish third in Morocco but I think it was always going to be a bit of a battle after five months.”

Big highlight of the day was Andrew Johnson carding an Ace at the 184 yard par three 8th hole, which won him the sponsors prize of a brand new BMW M4;

BMW PGA Championship

Andrew and his new BMW M4Getty Images

“It took one bounce and hit the flag and went straight in. It just happened so quick, so I didn’t really know what to do.”

 “I just saw him. He looked and I was like, ‘All right, now is the time to go’.”

World Number One Rory McIlroy, last weeks winner at Quail Hollow had a quiet first round -1 under par 71, but was mentally a little angry;

“Physically I am all right, I got back to my hotel at 4:30pm (on Wednesday) and did not leave it until 6:30 this morning, but mentally I could feel myself getting a little angry out there.”

“Acceptance of bad shots is the thing I have been doing so well and I feel like my patience was wearing a bit thin today.”

“I just need to stay in control of my emotions because I feel like that’s one of the things, if I’m a little tired or a little fatigued mentally, I’ll start to be hard on myself and start to get down on myself.”

“I played okay. There weren’t really any aspects of my game I thought were really good, but at the same time I don’t feel any aspect of my game was really off.”

One thing for Rory to think about is that no one has won here from being more than four shots off the lead after the opening round, he is six shots back.

BMW PGA Championship. Rory’s Great Win

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Rory’s great win at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth proves that he is back in form.

BMW PGA Champion Rory McIlroy  (Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory came from seven shots back to win by one stroke in a remarkable round at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. He carded a -6 under par 66 final round, only taking the outright lead for the first time with a birdie on the 71st hole and then made another birdie on the last to finish the tournament at -14 under par.

Rory spoke of his time in the wilderness and how good it feels to win again on the European Tour;

“It’s been 18 months since I won on The European Tour and to win the flagship event, I could not have asked for any more.I knew coming in here I was playing well. I struggled a little on Friday but played great over the weekend. I was a little fortunate that some of the guys ahead of me made mistakes and I took advantage of it.”

“My caddie JP Fitzgerald set me the target of 15 under today. I didn’t quite get there but 14 under was enough. I really wanted to win before going into the second Major of the season (the US Open from June 12-15) and I could not have asked for a better way to prepare.”

“It’s been a great day, going out seven behind I did not really expect to be in this position. Thomas was playing very well and I thought I would need something really spectacular to catch him but walking off the 11th tee I saw I was only two behind and thought I had a chance.”

Shane Lowery took second place at -13 under par, making it an all Ireland affair, he shot a last round -4 under par 68 for a decent result for him. He actually felt unlucky not to win;

“I feel very unlucky. I know I hit a poor tee shot on 13 but found myself in probably the only bush like that on the course and was struggling from there. But to hole the birdie putt on the last and to finish second on my own is really nice.”

Luke Donald and Thomas Björn finished tied in third position, both coming up a little short on the closing holes, ending with scores of -12 under par.

 Thomas had led this tournament for most of the time but sadly took two attempts to get out of a fairway bunker and then finding more sand with his fourth shot. Luke ran up a double bogey at the 6th hole, which really scuppered his chances;

“Obviously I would love to take that sixth hole back today, as would Thomas, but I was proud of the way I came back and fought back after that to be five under for the last 12.”

“I gave it a shot at the last but came up about a couple feet short, but I’m happy for Rory. We all know what he’s been going through and sometimes making those tough decisions maybe takes a weight off your mind in a way and he can engulf himself in the golf.”

The celebrations!  (Getty Images)

Rory and a Champagne moment / Getty Images

 

 

BMW PGA Championship. Björn Breaks Free

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Thomas Björn breaks free of the competition in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

Thomas Bjorn tees off on the 12th hole during day three   (Getty Images)

Thomas Björn / Getty Images

Thomas is taking a five shot lead into the final round of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. He shot a third round -5 under par 67 to pull away from the field, posting a tournament total of -15 under par.

He now feels really comfortable out on this course,  carding six birdies in a row;

“I’m starting to warm to this place, I got off to a really rough start with a lot of loose swings early on but hit a really good shot on ten and started to feel more comfortable.”

“I probably drew a little on what I did on Thursday on the back nine, putts started to drop and you get in the zone where things start to go your way. I was proud of the way I handled the round and proud of my determination and the way I stayed with my golf. It was a remarkable run of holes.”

Attempting to chase him down is second placed Luke Donald, who signed for a -4 under par 68, to at least keep Thomas in sight at -10 under par.

Luke made an eagle on the fourth and vital birdies on the 17th and 18th holes and said how important those last two birdies were;

“It was very important to make those birdies because every time I looked at the leaderboard Thomas had made another one. I did not want him to get too far ahead of me and it was important to be in the last group tomorrow.”

“Winning here in 2011 and getting to World Number One was a great feeling and with defending the following year I have so many great memories. To win here three times would be very good but I have a tough day ahead of me because Thomas is playing very good golf.”

In third place on his own at -9 under par is Shane Lowery, he carded +1 over par 73 and lost his momentum. Rory McIlroy is still a way back, T4, and will need something spectacular tomorrow if he is to contest this title. A -3 under par round today was really not good enough and leaves him at -8 under par for the tournament;

“I was a little disappointed I didn’t make a birdie at the last but after the start I had, 69 is a good score. I feel like a low round is in me but I don’t know if it’s going to be good enough. I need to go out and shoot something similar to what Thomas did on the opening day a course record 62.

“I’ve had big leads and let them slip, and come from behind and won. There’s a lot of ways to win. Eighteen holes of golf is still a long way to go and if the conditions are favorable, then you never know what can happen.”

BMW PGA Championship. Shane Joins Thomas At The Top

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Shane Lowery has joined Thomas Björn at the top of the BMW PGA Championship leaderboard at Wentworth.

Shane Lowry   (Getty Images)

Shane Lowery /Getty Images

As so often happens Thomas followed his sparkling 62 with a more mundane 72, allowing Shane to catch him at the top of the leaderboard at Wentworth. Both players are now on -10 under par for the tournament, Shane scoring a second round -2 under 70, while Thomas stood still with his even par 72 round. Thomas was upset at the length of time they had to wait today, it got to him, but not Shane who said he played good golf today;

“I was good out there today,”I was mentally there and really enjoyed it. It was tough for the front nine with the rain and stuff but it was a nice back nine and I managed to take advantage of it.”

Thomas was more reticent;

“Those were tough conditions for everybody out there today, especially on the front nine it was extremely difficult to get into a rhythm. We played those first four holes in I don’t know how long, and we had a couple of rulings in front of us. It was just impossible to find a good rhythm and Retief  left us with a back injury after five holes, so we got caught in a two-ball.”

“It just seems like all day we were waiting and waiting for a long time on a lot of these shots. It was a tough ask today so I was pretty pleased with the way I finished the round.”

Tied in third spot are Rafa Cabrera-Bello and a resurgent Luke Donald, both players are at -6 under par, four strokes back of the leaders.

Luke carded the lowest round of the day with six birdies and an Eagle for -5 under par on the day and he reported that good putting has put him in contention to win again;

“When we were warming up the rain was coming down pretty heavy and the wind was blowing hard. It was wet for six or seven holes but for the rest of the day it was pretty nice. I’m happy with the way I played and I holed some long putts which is always a bonus.”

“Being nine behind after the first day seems like a big mountain to climb but now I’m back in position to try to win this championship again.”

Henrik Stenson could replace Adam Scott as World Number One this week depending on their respective results, with a missed cut for Adam in the Crowne Plaza Invitational meaning Henrik would need just a top-30 finish at Wentworth. Henrik joked about the possibility;

“I will be sitting at home biting my nails all evening. I don’t expect Adam to miss the cut but I played fantastic golf for four or five months last season and made more points than anyone. If I can get to number one it’s on the back of that.”

  Adam has completed his second round at Colonial at -1 under par, well inside the projected cut line.

 

BMW PGA Championship. Manassero Magic.

Matteo Manassero produced some magic when winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club in a play-off that lasted for four holes on the famous West Course.

Tight battle: It took four play-off holes for Manassero to emerge the victor

Matteo has become the youngest player ever to win the BMW PGA Championship with his thrilling victory at the Wentworth Club. The 20 year-old Italian was tied at -10 under par with Englishman Simon Khan, a winner here in 2010, and Scotland’s Marc Warren at the conclusion of regular play.

On the first play-off hole, Marc put his tee shot into the tree’s down the 18th and was subsequently eliminated. Matteo and Simon halved the par 5 eighteenth twice more before Matteo stepped up to birdie the hole at the fourth attempt, for his dramatic win. Simon unfortunately put his second shot into the water, while Matteo found the green in two on the par five, and then had a two putt birdie.

Two Spaniards finished tied in fourth place, Miguel Angel Jimenez and the overnight leader Alejandro Canizares finished the tournament at -9 under par, agonizingly just one shot from the play-off.

Lee Westwood had held a two-shot lead after his birdies on the second, third and fourth holes, but he followed that with a very disappointing back nine performance of 40 , and finished joint ninth at -7 under par.

Fell away: Despite early good form, Lee Westwood barely made the top 10 at Wentworth

 

Lee Westwood wilted under the pressure on the back nine.

BMW PGA Championship. Cañizares Claims Lead.

Alejandro Cañizares has claimed the lead after the third round of the BMW PGA Championship, played on the West Course at the Wentworth Club in England.

Alejandro Canizares   (Getty Images)

Alejandro Cañizares / Getty Images.

Alejandro Cañizares has a one shot lead at the BMW PGA Championship, shooting a third round of -4 under par 68, and claimed top spot of the leaderboard. He had been taken ill on the flight from Korea to China and had to withdraw from the Volvo China Open, being diagnosed with viral meningitis. He came here with little ambition;

” This week I was just happy to be able to swing the club,  after the practice round on Tuesday I felt really tired because it was the first 18 holes I had walked in three weeks. I had no idea how I was going to feel so I am very pleased that it’s working out for me. Every now and then I get a little weird feeling in my head, but the doctors say that is normal.”

Sitting right behind him on the leaderboard is Lee Westwood, his third round score of -5 under par 67 has put the Englishman firmly in contention for this title. This his first tournament in England since his move to Florida in the States, and this is his 20th attempt at winning the BMW PGA Championship. Lee thinks it would be ironic if he won now;

” I’m still far from holding the trophy but it would be ironic,  it would be great and I am after as many wins as I can get, but it’s a crowded leaderboard and I will have to play as well if not better than I did today. I felt much more in tune with my swing and had a lot better distance and direction control with my irons and set up a lot of chances. It was one of the most fun days I have ever had on a golf course. It was good to see a lot more smiling faces and a lot more people prepared to take their hands out of their pockets and applaud. I get great support here but even more so today.”

Matteo Manassero (69) and Mark Warren (70) share third place on seven under par, Mark said it would be huge for him to win:

” It would be huge to win, this is our premiere event, this is the biggest event we play outside the Majors for us, it doesn’t get any bigger. Career-wise it would mean the world to me.”

Sergio Garcia, who has had a rough time with the media this week, has enjoyed the support of the crowd at Wentworth, and thinks he could finish strongly tomorrow, he is in a group of eight players just four shots off the lead:

“I think it’s been a tough week but we’ve been getting better every day, so hopefully we can finish on a high note tomorrow. There’s no doubt that everybody has made it so much easier for me. The crowds here, I don’t have words to explain what I feel towards them. They have been amazing, every single tee, every single green, cheering me on. I can never pay them back.”