Flawless Molinari holds off McIlroy at Wentworth

Rory McIlroy had led this week's BMW PGA Championship, but Francesco Molinari proved too hot for the world number eight to handle.

Francesco Molinari at Wentworth   -  Getty Images

A bogey-free final round of 68 saw Francesco Molinari overcome the challenge of Rory McIlroy to win the BMW PGA Championship at the Wentworth Club on Sunday.

Molinari posted three birdies on the front nine to go out in 32 and sunk another at 12 to reach 17 under for the European Tour event, the 35-year-old winning for the first time since the Italian Open on home soil in 2016.

McIlroy, the 2014 champion, started the final round in Surrey level with Molinari at the top of the leaderboard.

But the world number eight, who led by three shots at the halfway mark on Friday, struggled to get going over the concluding 18 holes, making seven successive pars and then following his first birdie of the day, secured with a 20-foot putt at eight, with consecutive bogies. 

McIlroy responded with another birdie at 12 and finished strongly with back-to-back gains at 17 and 18, but it was too late for the Northern Irishman to catch Molinari.

The two-time Ryder Cup player's accurate irons proved decisive, with the first three of his four birdies arriving from pinpoint approach shots, followed by an effective up and down from the front of the par-five 12th. 

Last year's winner Alex Noren and Lucas Bjerregaard shared third at 14 under, a shot ahead of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Branden Grace.