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Willett sees off Rahm challenge to win at Wentworth

The Englishman carded a closing 67.

Danny Willett claimed his seventh European Tour title (Bradley Collyer/PA)
Danny Willett claimed his seventh European Tour title (Bradley Collyer/PA)

By Phil Casey, PA Golf Correspondent

Danny Willett claimed his seventh European Tour title and a first on home soil after overcoming Spain’s Jon Rahm in a final-round duel at the BMW PGA Championship.

Willett carded a closing 67 at Wentworth to finish 20 under par, three shots ahead of fellow overnight leader Rahm, with South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout a shot further back.

Rory McIlroy, who made the cut with nothing to spare, added a 67 to his third round of 65 to finish in a tie for eighth, his 16th top 10 in 21 events this season.

After missing the cut at Wentworth last May, Willett was ranked 462nd in the world as he struggled with a loss of form precipitated by a number of injuries. The 31-year-old from Sheffield will be just outside the top 30 when the rankings are updated on Monday.

“It doesn’t get much better than this, does it?” Willett told Sky Sports. “It was a battle out there, with myself more than anyone else, and it’s nice to come through the other side.”

Willett and Rahm began the day tied for the lead and the Englishman struck the first blows with birdies on the second and third before Rahm made a gain on the fourth to halve his deficit.

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Danny Willett claimed his first European Tour title on home soil (Bradley Collyer/PA)

A birdie on the eighth restored Willett’s two-shot lead but he looked set to surrender it after hitting a tree with his recovery shot following a wild drive on the 11th and then gouging his third shot out of the heather into a bunker.

The former Masters champion appeared to have hurt his right wrist in the process but, after finding the green with his fourth, he holed from 40 feet to drop just one shot.

Rahm bogeyed the 12th after misjudging his pitch to the green and seeing the ball roll back towards him, but the Ryder Cup star bounced back immediately to birdie the next.

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Jon Rahm finished three strokes behind Danny Willett (Bradley Collyer/PA)

However, after debating which club to hit on the par-three 14th, Rahm chose the wrong option to come up short of the green in a bunker and was unable to get up and down for par.

Both players came up just short of the green in two on the par-five 17th and Willett struck the killer blow by chipping to within inches of the hole.

Rahm’s chip ran five feet past and although he holed the putt for a birdie, Willett tapped in to take a two-shot lead to the 18th tee and any doubt about the result was removed when Rahm found the water short of the green with his approach.

PA

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