Sweden’s Peter Hanson capitalized on the early errors of playing partner Rory McIlroy to hold on for a one-shot victory over the world No. 1 at the BMW Masters yesterday.
Overnight leader Hanson posted a final-round 67 for a 21-under total on the Lake Malaren course to capture his second European Tour success in three events and move behind Briton McIlroy at the top of the Race to Dubai standings.
The 35-year-old, who won the Dutch Open last month, stretched his advantage at the start of the day from one shot to four when his 23-year-old Ryder Cup-winning teammate recorded back-to-back bogeys from the fourth hole.
Double major winner McIlroy regrouped to birdie four of his next eight holes, before highlighting his round with a 25-foot eagle putt at the par-five 15th, moments before Hanson walked off with a birdie.
Despite a final-hole bogey, Hanson held on to capture a sixth European Tour win, while the US$1.66 million first prize is easily the biggest of his career.
“It’s fantastic to win the BMW Masters and to go head-to-head with the world No. 1 is always nice, but to come out on top, it feels great,” Hanson told reporters. “It’s kind of weird because when you have that kind of lead you’re playing a bit safe and I couldn’t really step it up towards the end, hit the shots and get it up close to the pin. So it’s lucky we didn’t have to play another two or three holes.”
Despite picking up a check for US$779,000, McIlroy looked disappointed to be settling for a ninth second-placed finish on the European Tour.
“I didn’t get the best of starts, but it started coming together over the back nine ... I was aiming to make him work for it,” McIlroy said. “It would have been nice to hole that [birdie] putt on the last to have him think a little bit, but it wasn’t to be. He played well and deserved his win.”
McIlroy is not contesting this week’s US$7 million WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shenzen and a Hanson victory would put the Swede ahead of the Briton on the order of merit.
English Ryder Cup teammates Luke Donald (17-under) and Ian Poulter (16-under) ensured the top four spots were secured by players who helped Europe beat the US last month.
Taiwan’s Tsai Chi-huang carded a final-round 75 to finish tied for 70th place on 10-over.
Additional reporting by staff writer