The crowds came to see a 28-year-old Englishman win the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. And they did. But it wasn’t Danny Willett who prevailed.
Fifty-four days younger than the Masters winner, Chris Wood was two shots lower—nine under par to seven under—and two places better while claiming his third European Tour title.
Out in seven-under-par 29 and still six under par for the round after 13-holes, Wood—the tallest man in the field at a shade over 6-foot-6—seemed to be cruising to victory. But Wentworth’s closing stretch is one of the toughest in the game. Three shots disappeared in the next four holes and the former Russian Amateur champion (really) needed a par-5 at the last for a back-nine 40 that would nonetheless win by a shot.
A good drive left him 196 yards over water to the pin. That would normally be a 6-iron for Wood, who hadn’t looked at a leader board all day, at which point his caddie asked if he wanted to know the situation. He did, and that 6-iron quickly turned into two sand wedges, followed by two-putts from 20-feet.
“It’s the biggest win of my career,” Wood said, adding that his front-nine assault was due to drawing perfect yardages for his approaches. “Walking up the 13th fairway we were told we were on the clock. That didn’t help. And yes, it seems a bit silly to hit sand wedge, sand wedge on the last—but that is what it took.”