Billy Horschel Wins Thrilling BMW PGA Championship
BILLY HORSCHEL won a thrilling BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and then revealed that he had been spurred on by being snubbed for the Ryder Cup.
The American made a tap-in birdie at the par-five last to close a bogey-free 65 at Wentworth and finish a shot ahead of Laurie Canter, Jamie Donaldson and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
Horschel, who won the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play back in March, admitted he had not been playing well enough to warrant selection for the USA team to face Europe at Whistling Straits, but was upset at not receiving a phone call from Stricker, who said he "called a lot of guys", to inform him he was not one of his six captain's picks.
"It sucks not making the team," said Horschel. "As I said all week, I didn't play consistent enough and well enough after I won the Match Play to warrant a pick or to get enough points to be an automatic selection.
"I was a little gutted I didn't get a call this week. I didn't think the call was going to say I made the team, but I was a little gutted that I didn't get a call to say, you didn't make the team. In my mind, I thought I would at least get that. There was a little more added motivation this week for that.”
Christiaan Bezuidenhout ended two strokes back in fifth ahead of Justin Rose, Andrew 'Beef' Johnston and overnight leader Francesco Laporta, while Bernd Wiesberger's top-20 finish ensured the Austrian qualified for Europe's Ryder Cup team.
Lee Westwood secured a record-equalling 11th Ryder Cup appearance despite a closing 77, as Shane Lowry - requiring a top-eight finish - dropped out of the automatic places after a final-round 71.
Aphibarnrat started the day four behind but charged up the leaderboard by holing from 10 feet at the first and posting four straight birdies from the fourth, with the four-time European Tour winner then squandering further birdie opportunities from inside eight feet over the next two holes.
Horschel made three birdies in a four-hole stretch from the third to briefly move alongside Aphibarnrat on 15 under, only for the Thai player to roll in a 25-foot birdie at the 11th and make a 20-foot eagle at the par-five next to go eight under for the round and three clear.
Canter had fallen down the leaderboard after bogeying the first and cancelling out his birdie at the next by dropping a shot at the third, before responding with four birdies in five holes and then adding another from three feet at the tenth to get within one.
Aphibarnrat holed a 15-footer to save par at the 15th and converted from 10 feet at the 16th for another birdie, putting Alex Noren's course record of 62 under threat, as Horschel stayed in touch with back-to-back gains from the 11th and Canter birdied the 12th to keep his hopes alive.
The tournament was blown open when Aphibarnrat escaped with just a bogey after hitting his approach into the bushes at the par-five 17th and then could make par at the last, seeing him set the target at 18 under, with Horschel making an eight-foot birdie at the 15th to make it a three-way tie.
Donaldson made it a quartet at the top when he followed a close-range birdie at the 17th with a two-putt gain at the par-five last, only for Horschel to break clear of the pack after firing his third shot at the 18th to inside two feet and set up a winning birdie.
Canter had a chance to also get to 19 under with a final-hole birdie, only for the Englishman to narrowly miss the target from 20 feet and make Horschel just the second American winner of the BMW PGA Championship in the tournament's history.
Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography
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