The BMW PGA Championship is one of the European Tour's most prestigious events.
This year, the field is jam-packed with a star-studded cast, featuring Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer, Thomas Bjorn, Justin Rose, Jonas Blixt and many more.
The 7,302-yard Wentworth Club plays host to this tournament and features plenty of scoring opportunities for the field.
Given the strength of the field, we are sure to see some low numbers this week.
Let's take a day-by-day look at the tournament in its entirety.
Day 4 recap
Rory McIlroy overcame a difficult week and previous struggles at the Wentworth Club to record his very first win at the BMW PGA Championship, following a final round of 66 and a total score of 14-under. Eurosport broke the news:
BREAKING NEWS: Rory McIlroy wins BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.— Eurosport.com EN (@EurosportCom_EN) May 25, 2014
The final leaderboard:
The Northern Irishman scored an impressive 32 on the back-nine including five birdies, taking advantage of mistakes made by the competition to rise to the top of the leaderboard with a one-stroke lead over Shane Lowry. McIlroy's play on Sunday was clean and mature, something Yahoo Devil Ball Golf's Shane Bacon noticed as well:
Big boy up-and-down for Rory and 17. Will most likely need another circle on 18 if he wants to avoid a playoff.— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) May 25, 2014
Golf Central noted McIlroy made history in more ways than one on the day:
Thomas Bjorn came into the day with a 5-stroke lead and looked to be on his way to an easy victory, but the Dane's tournament completely came undone on the front-nine. A triple-bogey on the sixth hole seemed to sum up his day perfectly, making just three of five scrambles and recording a score of 39 after nine.
Shane Bacon felt bad for the man who had looked like a safe bet for the win at the start of the fourth round:
Gotta be honest, watching someone meltdown like this is tough to watch.— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) May 25, 2014
StanJames.com took things a bit more light-hearted:
Looks like Luke Donald and Thomas Bjorn are really feeding off each other in the final pairing... both just hit triple bogeys at the 6th!— StanJames.com (@stanjames) May 25, 2014
Luke Donald continued his struggles off the tee, making the fairway just nine of 14 times. But a brilliantly chipped birdie on the 16th hole kept things close with the eventual winner, as the Englishman tried to force a play-off.
Having to score an eagle on the final hole, Donald finally hit a good shot off the tee, much to the delight of Shane Bacon:
Luke Donald just hit a fairway. Lock your doors, board your windows, bottle your water.— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) May 25, 2014
His very next shot would end up in the water,however, giving the win to McIlroy.
Lowry was another top contender going into the final day, but the Irishman struggled for consistency throughout much of the day as he alternated brilliant shots with mental lapses.
Lowry scored par just twice on the back-nine, given some indication of how his day went. But the 27-year-old can still look back on an excellent week, and a slightly more balanced approach could have made a large distance.
McIlroy will not have expected to win the BMW PGA Championship following his previous struggles at the course and his very public break-up with Caroline Wozniacki, as reported by CNN, and with an eye on the upcoming US Open, success here at Wentworth has to feel good for the Northern Irishman.
The 25-year-old had never won a European Tour event on European soil and had been winless since 2012, so Sunday's triumph truly couldn't have come at a better time.
Day 3 Recap
If Saturday's third round was any indication, Thomas Bjorn should not have any trouble walking away with the 2014 BMW PGA Championship.
Bjorn's five-under 67 served as a buoy for the 43-year-old Dane to take a five-stroke lead heading into Sunday. After starting the day with a double-bogey and bogeying No. 5 to go three over on day, Bjorn came roaring back on the back nine to overtake the field with a sterling performance. He carded seven birdies on the final nine to go into the clubhouse with a 30.
Luke Donald sits alone in second place at an aggregate of 10 under. He carded a four-under 68 in his third round. Shane Lowry, Bjorn's chief competition for the first two days, scuffled his way through a one-over 73 to move back to third.
“This is a dangerous lead, that’s for sure,” Bjorn said after the round, per James Corrigan of The Telegraph. “You can’t take anything for granted in this game. Especially with those names on the leaderboard.”
Bjorn, whose career as a top-tier golfer seemed over after failing to win a tournament in 2012, is on pace for his third European Tour win since September. This stands to be Bjorn's first victory at Wentworth, largely viewed as one of Europe's finest courses.
It should be good enough for Bjorn to merely play at par Sunday and still come away with the victory. His opening-round 62 remains three strokes better than any other round carded this week.
Francesco Molinari, who went seven-under for a 65 in Round 3, vaulted 40 spots into a tie for seventh heading into Sunday. Molinari only narrowly missed being cut following a 74 on Friday, so it will be interesting to see which wildly variant outcome he has in store. He and Anthony Wall were the two biggest movers among top-10 players Saturday.
Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, stagnated in the best possible way. The Northern Irishman continued an all-around solid week, scrambling back from an opening double bogey to shoot 67. McIlroy is tied with Joost Luiten at eight-under overall in fourth place.
"I've had big leads and let them slip, and come from behind and won, so there's a lot of ways to win," McIlroy said, per CBS Sports. "There is still 18 holes of golf to go, but I'm going to need something very special."
The week's biggest winner beyond Bjorn could be Henrik Stenson. Stenson could become the world's top-ranked golfer depending on his result and that of Adam Scott, who is playing in the PGA's Crowne Plaza Invitational. Scott is currently in 11th place in his event, while Stenson sits tied for seventh after a one-under 71.
Day 2 recap
Difficult weather conditions plagued the 2014 BMW PGA Championship for the second straight day, with strong winds having a large impact on Friday's round of competition. Thomas Bjorn kept hold of his lead at the top of the leaderboard, but he needed 10 more strokes to complete his round, finishing with par 72.
Ireland's Shane Lowry finished with two-under 70 to tie the Dane at 134 total, and the pair will hold a four-stroke lead over the rest of the pack headed into Saturday's round of action.
|Position||Player||To Par||Round 2|
Nobody expected Bjorn to repeat his sensational Round 1 on a rainy, windy day at Wentworth, but the Dane still held his own amidst the difficult conditions. He recorded his first bogeys of the tournament (three in total) but cancelled those out with three birdies on the back-nine to finish the day with par.
Lowry did slightly better, overcoming a double-bogey on the 9th to finish two-under 70. The Irishman went 16/18 on scrambles on Friday, keeping his composure as he slowly but surely caught up with Bjorn, at the top of the leaderboard.
The Irish Times' Philip Reid was impressed:
Shane Lowry's touch around the greens is exquisite. All those days playing pitch and putt in Clara serving him well. Cool. Calm. #softhands— Philip Reid (@philreidgolf) May 23, 2014
Rory McIlroy overcame a difficult start to the day, recording another albatros and three birdies on the back-nine to finish 1one-under 71, good for sixth on the leaderboard.
The Northern Irishman told The Guardian's Ewan Murray he felt like he was exceeding expectations amidst a number of possible distractions:
I have exceeded my expectations so far. I don’t know about exceeding them wildly, but reasonably at least.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect here. I didn’t know what was going to happen and didn’t know how I was going to feel. So to be in here for the weekend and to be in with a chance is good.
National Club Golfer really liked the way the youngster finished, scoring three birdies on the course's last four holes:
Brilliant finish from Rory McIlroy: an eagle and three birdies in his last seven holes turn an outward 38 into a 71. He's currently T4th. DM— National Club Golfer (@NCGmagazine) May 23, 2014
Luke Donald was the biggest riser of the day, playing a very strong back-nine on his way to five-under par 67, the best score of the day. A two-time winner here at Wentworth, Donald jumped 34 spots on the leaderboard, as he will go into Saturday's round tied for third.
Luke Donald is on the charge. Three birdies and an eagle in his last four holes takes him to -6 and a share of third. JS #BMWPGA— National Club Golfer (@NCGmagazine) May 23, 2014
The Englishman knows this course better than anyone, and despite a shaky start on Thursday, he is now placed ideally to make a run at his third win at the BMW PGA Championship. Trailing the leaders by just four strokes and with the weather conditions expected to remain difficult throughout the week-end, his local knowledge should help him gain the edge he needs to walk away with the victory.
Day 1 Recap
As anticipated, we saw some very low numbers posted on Day 1 of the tournament. Thomas Bjorn got off to a brilliant start, posting a 10-under 62 to take the first-round lead.
AP Sports tweeted Bjorn's 62 equaled a course record at Wentworth:
Golf: Thomas Bjorn of Denmark equals course record with 62 at Wentworth http://t.co/9kcVT1O7z5— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) May 22, 2014
Unfortunately, not every golfer was able to finish up on Thursday, as play was called due to rain, according to a tweet from the Golf Channel:
Play suspended at BMW PGA Championship due to rain; Thomas Bjorn (-10) in the clubhouse with 4-shot lead. Scores: http://t.co/zzuIzCpVAt— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) May 22, 2014
Here's a look at the scoreboard following Thursday's action:
|Position||Player||To Par||Round 1|
The complete scoreboard can be found on EuropeanTour.com.
Bjorn's blemish-free 10-under performance was simply impeccable.
He recorded three birdies and six pars on the front side to go out in 32, but he really did his damage on the back nine.
After two more birdies on holes 10 and 11, Bjorn recorded an eagle on the par-five 12th. Three more birdies later, he entered the clubhouse after a back-nine 30 and a 62 on the day.
Take a look at some highlights from Bjorn and other notables in the field, courtesy of a tweet from the European Tour:
Shane Lowry gave good chase to Bjorn on the tournament's opening day. He fired an eight-under 64, the only difference between him and Bjorn being Lowry's two bogeys.
Players Championship winner Martin Kaymer remains in solid form. He shot a four-under 68 on the day, including a nice run of four birdies in five holes to begin the back nine.
According to a tweet from the Golf Channel, Kaymer was happy with his opening performance:
Rory McIlroy made headlines entering the tournament after splitting with former fiancee Caroline Wozniacki; however, despite the ongoing drama in his personal life, he managed to remain in contention with a four-under 68 on the day.
McIlroy recorded two eagles on the day, one coming on the par-four seventh, as he took dead aim and sunk a masterful 130-yard shot.
After his round, McIlroy spoke about his mindset during a press conference, via Ewan Murray of The Guardian:
I haven't put my phone on for two days and I have given my laptop away. It is like I am living in the 1960s or 70s. At times it was difficult out there but when you are over a shot it is easier to keep your mind on things. I said yesterday that this would be a difficult week. It was also a very stop-start day.
I don't think you'd be a human being if it wasn't tough, especially when it's a little slow out there and we were walking in between shots. It is a tough week and I'm not really that comfortable standing here talking about it.
We'll see if McIlroy can shake things off and continue to play some solid golf for the tournament's remaining three days.
After all, Golf Digest tweeted a potentially great remedy for getting over a breakup:
Rory McIlroy's strategy for getting over a breakup? Shoot a low score http://t.co/3uvGJ34N0t— Golf Digest (@GolfDigestMag) May 22, 2014
In one of the day's most interesting and comical events, Pablo Larrazabal had an interesting lie for his third shot on the 18th hole, according to his tweet:
Why all the crazy things happen to me? That was my lie for my 3rd shot on 18th... Hehehehe pic.twitter.com/BGsxYRwseB— Pablo Larrazabal (@plarrazabal) May 22, 2014
Luckily, he didn't have to play from there and finished the day with a respectable three-under 69.
Expect plenty of drama and intensity over the final three days of this prestigious tournament. The field is extremely talented, and more twists and turns are sure to come.