Shane Lowry was crowned 2022 BMW PGA champion after pipping Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm to the coveted title after an action-packed final day at Wentworth.
Following the cancellation of play on Friday, after the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the tournament was reduced to 54 holes and the Irishman played them flawlessly, managing to play the West Course three times without dropping a single shot.
A birdie at the last meant he posted a final round 65 and a 17 under total, but he faced an anxious wait as McIlroy, in the group behind, had an eagle putt at the 18th which would have forced a play-off with his close friend Lowry. McIlroy’s 23-foot effort just stayed above ground, though, meaning the Northern Irishman signed for a 67, finishing a shot back on 16 under. That handed Lowry his first victory in a tournament that means so much to him, in the first week of qualification for the European Ryder Cup team in 2023.
Rahm, meanwhile, carded a stunning ten-under 62 earlier in the day to lay down the gauntlet to the overnight leaders, but settled for a share of second place alongside McIlroy.
Lowry, who hadn’t won a tournament since The Open in 2019, said: “Winning this championship means a lot. I love it here and I’ve contended in the past, so it’s great to finally get over the line. It’s been a good year, but I’ve felt like I’ve been close a few times and I felt like I was running out of time to win this season. Obviously, this one is right up at the top the list, so I’m delighted to have come out ahead.”
The performances of Lowry, McIlroy and Rahm, three of the highest ranked DP World Tour members in the field, will have caused a collective sigh of relief in the corridors of power within the DP World Tour, many of whose officials no doubt feared that one of the 15 LIV golfers in the field would win the title at the tour’s headquarters.
That looked a very real prospect when Patrick Reed, one of the first players to join the Saudi-backed tour, fired a final round 63 early on Sunday to post the clubhouse lead at -14. Rahm’s 62 ended the American’s hopes of victory, but Talor Gooch, another LIV golfer, threatened to the spoil the party when he got with two of the lead with six holes left to play. However, the America’c challenge stalled over the back nine, and only an eagle at the par-five 18th lifted him into fourth place on 15 under.
Speaking to the media, Lowry expressed his delight at having ensured a LIV golfer wasn’t celebrating on Sunday night. He said: “I made no secrets as to how I felt about the whole thing at the start of the week. I wanted to go out and win this tournament for myself, first and foremost, but I think for this tour. Everyone that’s stayed loyal to this tour and everyone that’s done everything for this tour. I feel like this is one for the good guys.”
McIlroy, another player to have voiced his unhappiness at LIV golfers playing at Wentworth this week, was also delighted that the man to beat him was a friend and fellow DP World Tour player. “I think Shane winning softens the blow. If it had of been someone else, I might not have felt as comfortable with it as I am,” he said. “Seeing a friend win is always great and I’m really happy for him. I struggled today. I didn’t hit my irons very well. I was scrambling quite a lot. But I got the most out of my round. I sort of dug in there and did what I needed to to give myself a chance going down 18. I don’t take as much momentum as if I had won the thing but I keep saying, the more you put yourself in these positions, law of averages suggests that you’re going to get your fair share.”
Second round leaders Soren Kjeldsen and Viktor Hovland went backwards on Sunday, with both players shooting 70 to finish tied fifth with Reed and Thomas Detry. Defending BMW PGA champion Billy Horschel posted a closing 67 to finish tied ninth on 13 under.
For the final leaderboard, click here.