SHANGHAI: Sweden’s Peter Hanson capitalised on the early errors of playing partner Rory McIlroy to hold on for a one-shot victory over the world No 1 at the BMW Masters on today.
Overnight leader Hanson posted a final round 67 for a 21-under-par total on the Lake Malaren course to capture his second European Tour success in three events and move behind Briton McIlroy at the top of the Race to Dubai standings. The 35-year-old, who won the Dutch Open in September, stretched his advantage at the start of the day from one shot to four when his 23-year-old Ryder Cup-winning teammate recorded back-to-back bogeys from the fourth hole.
Double major winner McIlroy regrouped to birdie four of his next eight holes before highlighting his round with a 25-foot eagle putt at the par-five 15th, moments before Hanson walked off with a birdie. Despite a final-hole bogey, Hanson held on to capture a sixth European Tour win while the $1.66 million first prize cheque is easily the biggest of his career.
“It’s fantastic to win the BMW Masters and to go head-to-head with the world number one is always nice, but to come out on top, it feels great,” Hanson said. “It’s kind of weird because when you have that kind of lead you’re playing a bit safe and I couldn’t really step it up towards the end, hit the shots and get it up close to the pin. So it’s lucky we didn’t have to play another two or three holes. This is by far my biggest win so it feels great as we had so many guys in the world’s top 10 here... this trophy is very, very special to me.”
Despite picking up a cheque for $779,000, McIlroy looked disappointed to be settling for a ninth second place finish on the European Tour. “I didn’t get the best of starts but it started coming together over the back nine... I was aiming to make him work for it,” McIlroy said.
“It would have been nice to hole that (birdie) putt on the last to have him think a little bit but it wasn’t to be,” added McIlroy. “He played well and deserved his win. To go out there with the lead and play the way he did and shoot 67 is very impressive, so he was always going to be tough to beat.”
McIlroy is not contesting next week’s $7 million WGC-HSBC Champions event at Shenzen and a Hanson victory there would put the Swede ahead of the Briton on the European Tour order of merit. English Ryder Cup teammates Luke Donald (17-under) and Ian Poulter (16-under) ensured the top four spots were secured by players who helped Europe register a stunning fightback victory over the US at Medinah last month.