Danny Willett captures BMW PGA Championship by three strokes

Danny Willett celebrates his three-shot victory in the BMW PGA Championship.
Danny Willett celebrates his three-shot victory in the BMW PGA Championship.Harry Trump/Getty Images/Getty Images

Danny Willett won a European Tour event on home soil for the first time in his career with a three-shot victory at the BMW PGA Championship on Sunday.

The 31-year-old Willett held off Jon Rahm in the final round at Virginia Water, England.

Willett shot a 5-under-67 to finish 20 under overall and collected his seventh European Tour title. He dropped only one shot Sunday on the par-4 11th, which could have been much worse.

‘‘This week has been one of those fairytales to win on home soil,’’ Willett said. ‘‘[I've] had a couple of good chances here before and the crowd weren’t going to let me throw it away.’’


Rahm shared the overnight lead with Willett and finished second after a 2-under 70.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout (68) finished third.

Rory McIlroy followed up his third-round 65 with a 67 to finish tied for ninth, his 16th top-10 finish in 21 events this season.

After missing the cut at Wentworth last May, Willett was ranked 462nd as he struggled with a loss of form precipitated by a number of injuries. He 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 struck first with birdies on the second and third before Rahm made a gain on the fourth to halve his deficit.

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, but the Ryder Cup star bounced back to birdie the next hole.

However, after debating which club to hit on the par-3 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 5 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.

PGA — Sebastian Munoz closed with a 2-under 70, making a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to force a playoff, and then beat Sungjae Im with a par on the first extra hole to win the Sanderson Farms Championship at Jackson, Miss., for his first PGA Tour victory.

Im, the PGA Tour rookie of the year last season, birdied three straight holes on the back nine of the Country Club at Jackson for a 66.

They finished at 18-under 270. Munoz earned a spot in the Masters next April.

Champions — Rocco Mediate birdied his last two holes for a 6-under 64 in Sioux Falls, S.D. He won after Ken Duke, tied for the lead going into the final hole, caught two nasty lies in the rough for double bogey.


Mediate wound up winning by two shots at Minnehaha Country Club, his first first victory since the Senior PGA Championship in 2016.

Duke had a share of the lead going into the final round for the first time in his career and held his own until the last hole.

His drive took a hop to the right into the rough, leaving Duke a bad lie. From off the green, he sought relief because he thought the ball was in the lining of sod, but that wasn’t the case.

It took him four shots to reach the green, and he missed the putt.

His double bogey gave him a 69, tied for second place with Colin Montgomerie and Bob Estes, who each had a 67.

Jay Haas (66) and Steve Flesch (68) tied for fifth.

Scott McCarron, who leads the Charles Schwab Cup, shot 67 with a bogey on the 18th and tied for seventh.