Khan stuns the field for BMW title|
Surrey, England (Sports Network) - Simon Khan fired a five-under 66 on Sunday
to overcome a seven-stroke deficit and win the BMW PGA Championship at
Khan finished at six-under 278 and won by a stroke over Luke Donald (71) and
recent Italian Open champion Fredrik Andersson Hed (71).
This was Khan's second European Tour title after he won the 2004 Celtic Manor
Wales Open. While that victory was impressive, this is the flagship event on
the European Tour and it carried the biggest purse of the season outside the
majors, the World Golf Championships events and the season-ending Dubai World
With the first-place check of almost 750,000 euros, Khan moved from 153rd in
the Race to Dubai at the start of the final round, to seventh.
"It just means everything, today, this week," said Khan, who became the first
sponsor's invite to win this title. "This tournament is the reason I started
playing golf, and just to be here was unbelievable."
Khan rolled in an 18-foot birdie putt at the par-five closing hole to get into
the clubhouse at six-under par. He was tied for the lead with Donald, but
Donald had two par fives to play.
Most players take advantage of the par fives, but Donald hit a terrible drive
right at the 17th. He made a mess of the hole, walked off with a double-bogey
and fell two behind Khan, who was on the range hitting balls in anticipation
of a possible playoff.
Donald needed an eagle at the par-five closing hole to force a sudden-death
playoff. His drive at the 18th landed in the left rough and he was forced to
lay up with his second.
Donald had to hole out and he took dead aim at the flag. His ball landed
inches short of the cup, but spun back to four feet. After Donald's third
stayed above ground, the title was Khan's.
"Today was quite surreal," said Khan. "It's just an amazing feeling."
Khan was not only a sponsor's exemption, but he was only notified on Monday
that he would be in the field. He won last year's Qualifying School and with
the victory on Sunday, he won't have to worry about a return to that
tournament for some time.
Sunday's win carried a five-year exemption on the European Tour for Khan.
Stephen Gallacher shot a one-under 70 on Sunday and took fourth at minus-four.
Danny Willett carded a three-over 74 and fell into fifth place at three-under
Khan played steady golf early and chipped away at the huge deficit in front of
him. He birdied the second, fourth and sixth holes to move his name up the
leaderboard, but birdies at 10 and 13 suddenly moved him into first.
While most players moved down the leaderboard on Sunday, Khan rose. He fell
into a tie for first with Donald after a bogey at No. 16, but his gutsy birdie
at the last, coupled with Donald's disaster at 17 gave Khan the largest final-
round comeback in tournament history.
"I honestly thought I was a bit too far back," admitted Khan, who was the
runner-up at this championship four years ago. "I thought, you never know
around here with the difficulty of the course and some of the pins, there can
be big swings in scores."
Three-time major champion Padraig Harrington (72), James Kingston (72), 1999
British Open winner Paul Lawrie (71) and third-round leader Chris Wood (77)
shared sixth place at minus-two.
Lee Westwood, the third-ranked player in the world, had a five-under 66 on
Sunday and snuck into a tie for 10th place with Ross Fisher and Justin Rose,
who both had 70s in the final round. The trio finished at one-under 283.
NOTES: This win also gave a Khan a three-year exemption into the British Open
Championship...Robert Karlsson set the course record on Saturday with a nine-
under 62 to get into second place, but struggled to a six-over 77 on Sunday
and shared 13th at even-par...Last year's winner Paul Casey shot a four-over
75 and tied for 17th at plus-one...Next week is the Madrid Masters, which was
won by Ross McGowan last year.
05/23 14:36:43 ET