Italy’s Francesco Molinari finally got his hands on the BMW PGA Championship trophy as Rory McIlroy’s bid for a second title came up short.
Molinari carded a closing 68 to finish 17 under par and two shots ahead of playing partner McIlroy, with defending champion Alex Noren and Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard a shot further back.
Molinari, whose second place 12 months ago was his fifth top 10 at Wentworth in the last six years, began the day in a tie for the lead with McIlroy but quickly moved clear with birdies on the third, fourth and eighth and never looked like being caught until some late drama on the final hole.
Three ahead playing the 18th, Molinari’s third shot to the green almost span back into the water and his fourth left him facing five feet for par, with McIlroy 20 feet away for eagle.
However, McIlroy agonisingly left his attempt inches short and Molinari held his nerve to hole out for par, meaning he had dropped just two shots all week, the last coming on the 10th hole of the second round.
The impressive win will take the 35-year-old back inside the world’s top 20 and within sight of securing a third Ryder Cup appearance in September.
McIlroy had enjoyed a three-shot lead at halfway, but struggled to a 71 on Saturday and rescued a 70 on Sunday with birdies on the last two holes.