BMW Masters: Peter Hanson lands biggest win of his career.
Shanghai. The world’s best players, captivated crowds and a beaming winner: Sweden’s Peter Hanson won the inaugural BMW Masters at Shanghai’s Lake Malaren Golf Club, picking up the winner’s cheque for 1,166,600 US dollars for his efforts. The 37-year-old survived a late challenge from world number one Rory McIlroy (NIR) on Sunday afternoon to finish ahead of an exceptionally strong field with a score of -21. As such, Hanson becomes the first man to have his name engraved on the prestigious BMW Masters trophy. Northern Ireland’s McIlroy finished runner-up on –20, ahead of world number three Luke Donald (ENG, -17) in third place. The quartet of Ryder Cup stars at the top of the leaderboard was completed by Ian Poulter (ENG, -16), whose round of 65 was the lowest of the day. The tournament was warmly received by the enthusiastic Chinese public, with 19,000 flocking to the Jack Nicklaus-designed Masters Course on Sunday alone, and 42,500 following the action live in Shanghai over the four days of the tournament.
Four of the five best players in the world and 28 of the top 30 pros in the European Tour’s “Race to Dubai” teed off at the 2012 BMW Masters in China. The strongest field assembled in Asia this year also featured eleven of the twelve members of the European team that successfully defended the Ryder Cup in Medinah (USA). The sixth and biggest win of Hanson’s career sees him climb into the top twenty in the world rankings for the first time. The man from Svedala, near Malmo, also rises to second in the “Race to Dubai” behind McIlroy, but ahead of England’s Justin Rose, who finished tied in sixth place on -14. Best-placed Chinese player was Liang Wenchong, who thrilled the local crowds with a four-under final round of 68 to climb to 20th on -10. His compatriot Wu A-Shun followed just one shot back in 25th (-9).
“Congratulations to Peter Hanson on his victory at the BMW Masters,” said Dr. Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Sales and Marketing BMW, who watched the final day’s action live on site. “Peter is a worthy champion. He fully deserves this success, having produced a fantastic performance against a truly world-class field. This tournament has undoubtedly been a huge success and underlines BMW’s position as a leading partner of golf throughout the world. We have seen just how well the sport is received in China. I am confident that golf has a big future in this emerging market – and we look forward to contributing to its growth. I would also like to thank our Presenting Partner, Lake Malaren Golf Club Shanghai, the China Golf Association, and the authorities here in Shanghai. They, and the many helping hands in the background, have made the inaugural BMW Masters such a great success.”
Hanson started the final round one shot ahead of his closest rival, courtesy of a consistently high level of golf over the opening three days. And the popular Swede was not about to let his standard drop on the final day. His nerveless putt to save par on the seventeenth was probably the defining moment of his tournament and instrumental in his victory. “This is by far the biggest win of my career, so I think all of the work I have put in to try to be ready for the Ryder Cup has really paid off. Playing against Rory, the world number one, is a very special treat, but having him breathing down your neck is not something you really want,” said Hanson on Sunday evening. “BMW is probably the strongest partner we have on the European Tour and they always do a fantastic job. I think coming here to this beautiful golf course; and of course me being a Swede, it feels special to be at Lake Malaren Golf Club. It has a bit of a Swedish feel to it.” The golf club on the outskirts of Shanghai was named after the lake of the same name in the north of Sweden. “It has been a great week for me,” the 2012 BMW Masters champion continued. “The way we get looked here is five‑star.”
McIlroy piled the pressure on Hanson with an eagle on the par-5 fifteenth and pushed the big Swede all the way. However, the two-time Major winner was ultimately left to regret the two bogeys early on in his round. “I wanted to try to make him work for it. It would have been nice to hole that putt on the last, at least to make him think a little bit. But it wasn’t to be and he played well,” said the 23-year-old. “He deserved it. To go out with the lead and play the way he did and shoot 67 is very impressive. He was going to be very tough to beat today. Of course I’m a little disappointed, but I’m very happy with the way I played.”
BMW Brand Ambassador Martin Kaymer, six shots behind the leader going into the last day of the tournament, started his final round in determined fashion: back-to-back birdies on the opening three holes brought the 2010 U.S. PGA Champion right back into contention before Hanson had even taken to the course. However, a bogey on the fourth took the wind out of the German’s sails and he had to settle for a respectable eleventh place on -13. “I actually played very well this week, but missed far too many chances. I needed to make more putts and hit better shots with my wedge,” said Kaymer. “I could definitely have done better than tied eleventh here. It was impressive to see how big the BMW Masters is. A sensational tournament with big prize money, a lot of world ranking points up for grabs, and a great field. It was great fun playing here.”
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