Billy Horschel birdied the last hole to secure a one shot win at the European Tours flagship event.
Billy Horschel Creates History At Hugely Dramatic BMW PGA Championship
In a thrilling final day, it was Billy Horschel who came out on top, claiming a tense one shot victory over a congested leaderboard for his second European Tour win.
The win puts Horschel among some exclusive company, with only Arnold Palmer the other American to win this event, back in 1975.
Horschel, who had mentioned yesterday how special this event was to him, said: “I’m speechless, which is very rare. As I said two years ago, and indeed this week, the crowds are just absolutely unbelievable here.
“They supported me when I came over in 2019, and they’ve supported me this year. I played really well today, but to win this event means a lot. As I said yesterday, it’s similar to the Players Championship. I haven’t won that one yet, but now I have this one and I’m very happy.”
American, Horschel, had started his day just two back of overnight leader, Francesco Laporta. However, it would be Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat who started the brightest, making five birdies on the front nine to take the outright lead.
Horschel, who was starting a good few groups behind the Thai kept pace though, before Aphibarnrat made a birdie at the 11th and then a scintillating eagle at the 12th to move three clear.
All week, the back nine had been playing as the more scoreable of the two nines, especially with two par-5’s to finish, but leader, Aphibarnrat couldn’t take advantage, doing well to save a six at the 17th before a two-putt five put him at 18-under-par.
Horschel, on the hand, faired better over the remaining holes, making a classy birdie at the 15th before nearly holing his wedge shot at the last for an eagle.
Tapping in, he would leap-frog his opponent to 19-under-par, and when Laurie Canter failed to hole his birdie putt at the last to tie things up, the title was Horschel’s.
After claiming the European Tours flagship event, Horschel said: “Our goals as professional golfers are to win Majors and a few other events. Very few Americans say I want to win a European Tour event, but when I came over in 2019 and experienced what this event was all about, and actually grew up watching this event on TV, this was one I wanted to add to my list.
“I know how I’m going to celebrate tonight. I’ve got dinner tonight with Mark Noble and Declan Rice!”(West Ham players)
Related: Why Is Billy Horschel A West Ham Fan?
Away from the victory, there was the small factor of sorting the first nine automatic places for the European Team at the Ryder Cup, and, after a hugely dramatic day, it was Lee Westwood and Bernd Wiesberger who secured the final remaining places.
After his disappointing five-over-par final round, it seemed that Westwood was out of the running. However, thanks to Shane Lowry’s poor stretch over the back nine, Westwood would secure a spot, with Austrian, Wiesberger, also joining him to be the second rookie on the team.
With automatic qualification, Westwood will equal Sir Nick Faldo’s record of 11 Ryder Cup appearances, with Wiesberger becoming the first Austrian to tee it up at the event.
Captain, Padraig Harrington will now have a dilemma as he only has three selections left to complete his team of 12, with Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Shane Lowry and Justin Rose the favourites for the three picks.