South Korean An Byeong-hun became only the third European Tour rookie to win the BMW PGA Championship in the 60-year history of the event when he roared to a spectacular six-shot victory on Sunday.
The 23-year-old went into the final round in a tie for the lead with Italian Francesco Molinari, and pieced together a nerveless seven-under 65 to finish with a 21-under total of 267 on a grey but humid day at Wentworth.
An’s triumph earned him a check for 833,330 euros (US$917,913) and meant he joined British pair Bernard Gallacher (1969) and Scott Drummond (2004) as rookie winners of the tour’s flagship event.
Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez (67) and Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee (69) shared second place, two ahead of Briton Chris Wood, who recorded a hole-in-one at the 14th on the way to a closing 66.
Molinari ballooned to a 74 to finish fifth on 276.
“I’m over the moon,” An told the presentation ceremony after setting a new BMW PGA scoring record in relation to par. “I wasn’t expecting this. I didn’t know a win was this close and I never thought I would win this event.”
An, whose best previous finish on the tour came when he was tied for fifth at the Qatar Masters in January, streaked clear of his title rivals with three birdies and an eagle on the back nine.
His second professional victory helped him become the first Asian to win the flagship event and also secured a five-year tour exemption in Europe.
“It’s going to be life changing,” said An, the son of two Olympic table-tennis medalists — his mother, Jiao Zhimin, represented China and his father, Ahn Jae Hyung, competed for South Korea.
“This is the biggest event on the European Tour and there are a lot of benefits. I played really well today and had all the confidence going into the last couple of holes.”
Wood won a sports car from the sponsors after using a seven-iron to ace the 163m 14th.
“It was a cracker of a shot,” Wood said. “I think my caddie was more excited than I was.”
Jimenez claimed a tour record 10th career hole-in-one in the third round and Wood explained that he had a chat with the 51-year-old Spaniard on Saturday night.
“I bumped into Miguel and said: ‘When is it my turn?’ All the players, we sort of looked at the 14th on Tuesday [last week] when we had a practice round and we thought: ‘Wouldn’t it be nice?’”
Wood’s ace came shortly after Trevor Fisher Jr had a hole-in-one at the second, but there was no prize for the South African’s effort.
There were five aces at this week’s championship, another tournament record.
‘CRIMINAL ACT’: The UCI said it ‘strongly condemns’ Dylan Groenewegen’s ‘dangerous behavior,’ which left Jakobsen in critical condition and injured other cyclists Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen was in a coma on Wednesday, in “serious” condition, after he was thrown into and over a barrier at 80kph in the conclusion to the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne. Footage showed 23-year-old Jakobsen, of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step, racing elbow-to-elbow with fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen of Jumbo-Visma as both men frantically tussled in a tight sprint to the line in Katowice. However, Jakobsen came off worst, somersaulting over the barriers before colliding with a photographer after Groenewegen had veered suddenly to the right, squeezing his rival into the security wall. “His condition is very serious. His life is
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational