Kiwi Ryan Fox wins European tour's PGA Championship


Ryan Fox has overcame a three-shot deficit and a triple bogey early in his final round to earn an astonishing triumph in the European tour's flagship event, the PGA Championship.

New Zealander Fox hit back to record six birdies on the back nine on Sunday - the last one from six feet on the 18th hole — for a five-under 67 and a one-shot victory over Aaron Rai and Tyrrell Hatton.

Fox started shaking his right fist as the final birdie putt was inches from going in, the final stroke of a masterpiece over his last 15 holes that carried the Kiwi to his fourth European tour title, and by the far the biggest of his career.

"I played great," Fox enthused.

"Pretty much didn't miss a shot from the third hole onwards and saw a couple of putts go in and it was pretty cool feeling on the last to know I had one to win and actually make it."

Ludvig Aberg, the Swedish rookie, never recovered from an atrocious start of his own. Aberg, going for his second straight win, started with a two-shot lead and it was long gone by the time he made the turn.

Aberg took two double bogeys on the front nine with poor chips and missed putts. He missed five from inside six feet and closed with a 76, tied for 10th.

That turned the back nine at Wentworth into a free-for-all among four players chasing the flagship event on the European tour in the rain and a one-hour delay from lightning in the area.

Hatton, who had opened with five birdies in seven holes, birdied the 18th for a 66 to momentarily tie Fox for the lead.

Rai boldly hit the par-five 18th green with a fairway metal, and his 40-foot eagle putt to take the lead caught the left edge of the cup.

He tapped in for birdie and a 68, joining Hatton in the lead. Jon Rahm also needed eagle on the 18th, and his 20-foot putt narrowly missed. With a 68, he wound up two shots behind.

That set the stage for Fox, who had made an unreal comeback after driving out-of-bounds on the third, finding a bunker and taking triple bogey. That left him five off the lead.

"I certainly didn't think I'd be talking to you after the third hole," Fox told Sky Sports. "I don't know what to think at the moment. I've always struggled around here. To have a back nine like that, especially with how I started the day, it's amazing."

Fox had not registered a top 10 in what he said has been a tough year. After his second child was born four months ago, his father-in-law died in June after a brief battle with cancer. 

It was an inspiring day for Europe as it relates to the Ryder Cup. All 12 players were at Wentworth and all 12 made the cut, including Captain Luke Donald.

At one point early Sunday, the leading six players were Ryder Cup members and nine of them were among the top 20. In the end, Viktor Hovland (67) finished fifth, followed by Tommy Fleetwood (72) and Rory McIlroy (65).

There was an excellent top-10 finish, too, for the evergreen Australian star Adam Scott, who finished alongside McIlroy tied for seventh on 13 under.

Scott eagled the long third hole for the third time during the week en route to his 67, while Min Woo Lee was another couple of shots back on 11 under after a final-round 70.