Wilson's slip proves costly as Jimenez triumphs
Monday 26 May 2008
As challengers rose and then promptly fell straight back down again, it seemed as if they could not give this famous trophy away. But then poor Oliver Wilson did just that. He had a seven-footer to win the BMW PGA Championship and although it was not quite John Terry in golf spikes, it was heart-breaking for the young Englishman all the same.
Still, when the palms became greasy, The Mechanic was a worthy winner of the European Tour's so-called flagship event. Miguel Angel Jimenez might remember his day best for the hole-in-one with a four-iron on the fifth, yet this near £600,000 winning cheque may just challenge in that regard.
Jimenez is living, winning proof of the "life begins" cliché having now collected eight titles since passing 40. The Malaga man is now all but a certainty for a third Ryder Cup appearance in Kentucky in September and also finds himself on the brink of the world's top 20. This was his most prestigious victory to date and this cigar-smoking joker will be a popular champion. In hindsight, after three top 10 finishes here in the last three years, the 44-year-old can be described as one of the most predictable winners as well.
Wilson could take his own consolation from his seventh second-place finish of his short career. The 27-year-old from Mansfield is the newest member of the world's top 50 and earns a berth in next month's US Open as result. But it could have been such a more joyous Sunday evening had he taken the chance that came his way on the first extra hole.
After matching Jimenez's 68 for an 11-under total, the pair headed back to the 18th tee and after expertly splashing out from a greenside bunker, Wilson had an inviting short putt for his maiden victory. It lipped the cup and Jimenez escaped and then, 15 minutes later, when the Spaniard birdied the same hole, Wilson's doom was sealed.
"That hurts," said Wilson. "I have never been that confident over a putt, ever. I cannot believed I missed it. I thought it was my time. It didn't happen."
At least he was in good company. Robert Karlsson's final hole calamity summed up a bizarre week on the greens when the uneven surfaces made the professionals look like drunk holidaymakers playing crazy golf. The Swede had watched a four-shot overnight lead disappear, but still had a three-footer on the 18th to make it a three-man shootout. Yes, he missed, rather easily as it happens, and then yanked the one back as well. This allowed Luke Donald to sneak into a tie for third, following a 65.
It was a brilliant closing round by the Englishman; yet one so familiar. Donald is earning himself something of a reputation for coming from nowhere on the last day to win a big cheque without ever threatening for the silverware. Indeed, Donald has backed his way into more money than your average Securicor van.
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