Unheralded Khan rallies to win BMW PGA

Simon Khan celebrates after making birdie on No. 18 during the final round of the BMW PGA Championship.

VIRGINIA WATER, England – Add Simon Khan’s name to a list of unlikely winners of the BMW PGA Championship, a roster that includes Andrew Oldcorn (2001), Ignacio Garrido (2003) and Scott Drummond (2004).

Khan shot 5-under 66 at Wentworth and came from seven shots behind Chris Wood at the start of the final round to take the 750,000 euro first-place prize in the European Tour’s flagship event. His 6-under 278 total was good enough for a one-shot victory over England’s Luke Donald and Sweden’s Fredrik Andersson Hed.

Khan, 37, won the biggest tournament of his career and the biggest check of his life. He earned a five-year European Tour exemption and a three-year pass to the Open Championship. It was only his second European Tour win, following the 2004 Wales Open.

The victory also earns Khan an invite to the WGC–Bridgestone Invitational and WGC–HSBC Champions.

He also joins a veritable who’s who of golf among the BMW past champions: Paul Casey, Angel Cabrera, Colin Montgomerie, Ian Woosnam, Jose Maria Olazabal, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Bernard Langer, Tony Jacklin and Arnold Palmer among them.

Donald ruined his chances of winning when he made an uncharacteristic double bogey at the 17th. Tied for the lead with Khan, a pushed tee shot on the par-5 hole found a bush and ended his chances of winning.

Khan’s win is all the more remarkable considering that only six months ago he was fighting for his career. He had to return to the European Tour Qualifying School last year after losing his card.

Khan not only passed his Q-School exam, but he did so with honors. Khan took the first card. He only got into this tournament on a sponsor’s invite. Instead of wondering where he was going to play this year, he now will play in every event that matters.

The irony is that Khan won his only previous tournament after inspiration from another unlikely winner of the Tour’s marquee event. Khan credited his Wales Open victory to inspiration from watching close friend Drummond win here in 2004. Now he has joined his friend on the winner’s list.

“It’s just amazing to win here,” Khan said. “It’s always what I’ve dreamed of doing. I can’t believe it, really.”

Like Drummond, a good putting round on the final day was the key to Khan’s success.

“It finally came alive,” he said about the shortest club in the bag. “I tried to go out and have the same swing thoughts and treat it as another day. My putting is good. It’s there already, but I just expressed it a bit more today.”

He was most expressive on 18, where he rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt to get to 6 under and cap the biggest day of his career.

And with it, another relative unknown has emerged on the European Tour’s biggest stage.

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