Hansen adds to intrigue of PGA winners
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2007 BMW PGA Championship | Round Four | 28 May 2007
Dane, Anders Hansen, the 151st ranked player in the world, won arguably Europe’s most significant event outside of the majors and completed a remarkable double by taking out his second BMW PGA Championship, this time in a playoff over England’s Justin Rose.
Hansen had won this event in 2002, adding to a list of recent winner who hardly match the significance of this event. Not that anything can be taken away from Hansen’s win but that so many of the recent winners of this event have been other than the elite of the European Tour golf is an intriguing statistic. David Howell and Angel Cabrera who won in 2006 and 2005 are perhaps an exception to the rule but prior to that, players such as Hansen himself, Ignacio Garrido, Scott Drummond and Andrew Oldcorn hardly enhanced the status of the event.
Not that Hansen will be in the least bit concerned however as he deposits the huge €725,000 first prize into his bank account this week. He won with a birdie at the first extra hole (the 18th) when he holed a putt of 20 feet to claim the title.
Hansen has played for much of this season on the USPGA Tour having gained his card to play there when he finished fourth at the USPGA Tour School last December. His best finish in nine starts was 22nd at the Honda Classic so this win against the strong field lined up for the event could only be considered a surprise. He had played in Italy recently playing well early in that event.
“I have really worked hard in the last couple of weeks since Italy,” said Hansen after the win. “Today I really felt that if I was to win the event I would need some help from the other guys as this weather was not going to allow a really low last round. I just tried to hang in there and coming down the last few holes I had that same feeling I had when I won in 2002.”
Justin Rose birdied two of the last three holes in regulation play to get into the playoff with Hansen after Hansen himself had birdied the par five last a few minutes earlier to pass Vijay Singh. Singh had been brilliant on the final day. After a bogey at the par three second, Singh produced seven birdies to finish with 66 and moved from 23rd to a share of third with South African, Richard Sterne, who is having by far his best season on the European Tour.
“I am a little disappointed not to have won a tournament I would dearly love to have won but I still feel like I didn’t do much wrong,” said Rose afterwards. “I did a lot well down the stretch but sometimes in a playoff situation it becomes a little hit and miss.” Rose has occasionally been questioned for not being able to finish events off but this time little blame could be attached to him. Rose was chasing his second European Tour title of the 2007 season having won in Australia late last year.
Richard Green was the best of the Australians finishing 8th after his very good fourth last week in Ireland. Marcus Fraser was 12th after a collapse over the closing nine holes, Peter O’Malley was 30th, Mathew Millar was 60th after being in the hunt at the halfway mark and Brett Rumford was 73rd.
The European Tour now heads to Wales for the Celtic Manor Wales Open.