Rose fades in Hansen shadow

Justin Rose's hopes of a triumphant return to Europe were dashed in dramatic fashion by Dane Anders Hansen at Wentworth.

Justin Rose's hopes of a triumphant return to Europe were dashed in dramatic fashion by Dane Anders Hansen at Wentworth.

With a 20ft birdie putt at the first hole of a play-off 36-year-old Hansen won the European Tour's flagship BMW PGA Championship for the second time in six years.

Amazingly, he has never won any of his other 235 events - and in his first season on the US Tour this year has not had a single top-20 finish.

Rose, playing his first tournament in England for three years, had brought the biggest cheer of the day from the crowd when he played a brilliant pitch to two feet to match Hansen's closing birdie four in regulation play.

That meant they tied on the eight under par mark of 280 after a closing day of good, bad and some really ugly golf, with overnight leaders Paul Broadhurst and Ross Fisher incredibly shooting 80 and 84 respectively.

Rose then played the better approach when the pair returned to the 18th hole for sudden death but Hansen had the perfect pace and line on his putt and won the first prize of nearly £500,000 when the 26-year-old Englishman missed from 15 feet.

"This means a lot more than the first time," said Hansen. "It's a fantastic feeling. The first time I was playing really good coming in, but a lot of things have happened since.

"I've not played great this year. I've just kept shooting myself in the foot. I've also missed my kids - I have family in Denmark and it's really hard being away from them. I'm disappointed it's taken five years (to win again). And I never would have guessed that it would come here."

For Rose it was yet another near-miss.

In the Masters at the start of April - that was his last start as he had more back trouble the following week - he was one behind Zach Johnson with two to play but double-bogeyed the penultimate hole and finished fifth.

"I guess it is disappointing," he stated. "You are that close when you are in a play-off but it was over so quickly. He holed his putt and I missed mine.

"All in all, though, it's hard not to be pleased about playing so well at home in a tournament I really love and came to watch many times as a kid."

Rose did have another double bogey, going out of bounds with his hooked drive at the ninth, but this time he came straight back with a birdie, as he did after bogeying the 15th.

And his last-hole birdie in regulation play should fill him with confidence next time he is in contention.

"It was somewhat similar to 98," he said, being reminded of the pitch-in for birdie with which he took fourth place as a 17-year-old amateur in the Open at Birkdale. Hansen became the fifth shock winner of the event in seven years.

Scotland's Andy Oldcorn was not in the world's top 250 when he lifted the trophy in 2001, Hansen himself was ranked only 141st the following year, Ignacio Garrido was outside the top 200 in 2003 and Scott Drummond, the biggest outsider of all, was way down in 435th spot three years ago.

This time Hansen came to the West Course 151st in the world and he did not think much of his chances when an opening 74 left him eight adrift of leaders Rose and Broadhurst.

By winning again, however, he is likely to leap more than 100 places and into the top 50 just in time to earn an exemption into next month's US Open, while he is certain to be in the Open at Carnoustie in July.


David Whetstone
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