PGA Championship: Francesco Molinari wins at Wentworth by two from Rory McIlroy

Francesco Molinari has equalled fellow Italian Costantino Rocca's five European Tour titles
Francesco Molinari has equalled fellow Italian Costantino Rocca's five European Tour titles
Final leaderboard
-17 Molinari (Ita); -15 McIlroy (NI); -14 Bjerregaard (Den), Noren (Swe); -13 Grace (SA), Aphibarnrat (Tha); -12 Fichardt (SA); -10 Fitzpatrick (Eng), Jaidee (Tha), Cabrera-Bello (Spa), Fisher (Eng); -9 McDowell (NI), Burmester (SA), Kinhult (Swe)
Selected others: -8 Lowry (Ire), Horsfield (Eng); -7 Fleetwood (Eng), Poulter (Eng), Casey (Eng), Rock (Eng); -6 Westwood (Eng); -5 Ramsay (Sco)

Italian Francesco Molinari won the PGA Championship at Wentworth by two shots from fellow overnight leader Rory McIlroy.

Last year's runner-up Molinari finished on 17 under after a final-day 68.

Northern Ireland's McIlroy, winner in 2014, carded a two-under-par 70 on Sunday to finish second at the European Tour's flagship event.

Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard and defending champion Alex Noren from Sweden tied third, a shot further back.

Bjerregaard, who bogeyed the first, carded the round of the day with a seven-under 65.

England's Matthew Fitzpatrick finishing with an eagle on the 18th to move to 10 under in a tie for eighth alongside compatriot Ross Fisher.

Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell was a shot further back, one ahead of Ireland's Shane Lowry and 21-year-old Sam Horsfield.

The 2017 Race to Dubai champion, Tommy Fleetwood, finished on seven under, tied with Ian Poulter and Paul Casey, while Lee Westwood ended at six under after a final-round 74.

McIlroy's challenge falls short

Molinari, who only hit two bogeys in his four rounds this week, was barely tested by McIlroy during the final round.

McIlroy, the world number eight, had led by three shots at the halfway stage, but was pegged back after a 71 on Saturday.

It was a procession for world number 32 Molinari on Sunday as he went through the front nine in three under par.

McIlroy was level through nine, struggling to attack the leader. He missed fairways and greens, and failed to set up birdie chances.

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy was agonisingly close to an eagle on the 18th

A bogey four on the 10th saw McIlroy's challenge falter further as he dropped back into the chasing pack.

Birdies on the 17th and 18th lifted McIlroy to second outright and made the final score seem closer, but in truth Molinari cruised to the win with another flawless round.

McIlroy, who had been looking for a "spark" in Surrey to ignite his season, with The Open beginning on 19 July, will see this as a missed opportunity.

His 2018 campaign has hardly been a disaster thanks to an impressive victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and three other top-five finishes.

However, he has also missed three cuts and failed to complete the career Grand Slam after a disappointing final round in the Masters.

"It is disappointing," said McIlroy. "He [Molinari] was like a robot, he doesn't hit it off line. I would have needed a great round to beat him.

"Today I played similar to Saturday, I could not get going and gave Molinari a lead early on. It was a little too late for me in the end."

Molinari takes home the winner's prize of one million euros (£875,000) and will have also pushed himself into the Thomas Bjorn's thoughts for Europe's Ryder Cup with increased ranking points now on offer in the run-up to the contest in France in September.

The 35-year-old Italian, who played in the Ryder Cup in 2010 and 2012, said: "If I could pick one tournament to win in my career it would be this one.

"The Ryder Cup is very special. It hurts to watch it on TV. You really want to be there. I've been lucky to be on two winning teams and I hope to be able to win a third time."

Analysis

BBC golf correspondent Iain Carter

This is a huge win in the context of the Ryder Cup with extra weighting of points enabling Molinari to leap into third place in the qualification table.

On this form the Italian would be a fine addition to Europe's team. His steadiness makes him an ideal foursomes partner and back in 2012 he beat Tiger Woods in the singles to cap the Miracle at Medinah.

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