Lowry wins by one shot at BMW PGA Championship as McIlroy comes up short 

VIRGINIA WATER, England (AP) — Shane Lowry birdied on the 18th hole and then had to wait and see if Rory McIlroy could produce anything special to force the playoffs at Wentworth.

McIlroy gave himself a chance and the crowd cheered as his long eagle putt on the final hole slowly crept towards the cup, only to stop within an inch.

McIlroy crouched down, staring at the ball in disbelief, while Lowry hugged his caddy in the goalscoring tent to celebrate a one-shot win at the BMW PGA Championship on Sunday.

It was Lowry’s first victory since the British Open in 2019 and came after a three-day bogey-free performance at Wentworth.

It was also, according to the 35-year-old Irishman, a victory for all golfers who – like him – have rejected lucrative offers from the Saudi-backed breakaway series LIV Golf. Both Lowry and McIlroy were candid this week in criticizing the fact that a contingent of LIV golfers had been allowed to play at Wentworth.

“I wanted to go out and win this tournament for myself, first and foremost, but I’m thinking for this tour and everyone who stuck with this tour,” Lowry said. “I really feel like it’s one for the good guys.”

McIlroy and Jon Rahm were tied for second, one shot back. Talor Gooch, who plays on the LIV Tour, was another shot back in fourth place.

It was Lowry’s first victory since the British Open in 2019 and came after a three-day bogey-free performance at Wentworth.

The tournament was reduced to 54 holes with no play on Friday following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday.

Lowry finished with a 7-under 65 for a 17-under total of 199.

“I said to my coach this morning, ‘I just have to allow myself to play golf today,'” Lowry said. “I’m playing the best golf of my life, I just have to allow myself to do it. And I did.”

Rahm moved up the leaderboard with a 62, rolling in an eagle putt on the 18th to take a two-stroke lead at the clubhouse at 16 under. He then had to wait over two hours to see if it would be good enough for the win, although on a low-scoring day at Wentworth it never looked likely.

A superb approach shot from Lowry on the 18th made sure of that.

Lowry hit an iron 242 yards onto the center of the green – a shot good enough to earn an immediate punch from his caddy – then rolled an eagle putt inches from the hole, leaving himself a birdie tap-in for lead.

McIlroy, playing in the pair behind Lowry, also birdied a 14-foot putt on the 17th break just to the right of the hole. When Lowry then birdied the last hole, McIlroy knew he had to hit the par-5 18th – something he never managed at Wentworth.

It came excruciatingly close.

“I even thought three feet that putt was going in the hole,” said McIlroy, who won his third FedEx Cup title last month. “It just kind of squirmed me at the end. But overall it’s been another really good week.

It was a first victory for Lowry at Wentworth on his 13th appearance at the European Tour’s flagship event, having finished second to McIlroy in 2014.

“I love it here, I’ve fought in the past,” Lowry said. “The bad shots I’ve hit over the years in contention have actually started to creep into my head. It’s amazing what this game does.”

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