From Brian Keogh at Wentworth
As 44-year-old Miguel Angel Jiménez snatched the BMW PGA Championship and a record eighth European Tour victory by a player in their 40s, Dubliner Paul McGinley struggled to come to terms with the most disappointing weekend of his golfing career.
Four-under par after six holes thanks to a sensational hole-in-one at the 203-yard fifth, the ginger-haired Spaniard shot a 68 to come from four strokes behind Sweden’s Robert Karlsson (74) to tie with 27-year-old Englishman Oliver Wilson on 11 under par.
The Spaniard then beat Wilson with a birdie four at the second extra-hole but as he celebrated the most lucrative win of his life and his second of the 2008 season following his Hong Kong Open triumph, 41-year-old McGinley was still trying to come to terms with the wind-blown, third round 79 that shattered his chances of a victory.
After closing with a 72 to finish in a six-way tie for 10th place on six-under par, the Dubliner still had no idea how he turned a four shot halfway lead into a five-shot deficit and ventured that be may not have been fully prepared for the high winds that buffeted the course in the third round.
Rather than dwell on his disaster, he went home on Saturday and fell asleep in front of the TV as he watched Ireland draw 1-1 with Serbia at Croke Park.
Even with 24 hours respite, he still hadn’t awoken from his Wentworth nightmare and confessed that he may need a couple of days to shift through the debris of his week at Wentworth before heading to Celtic Manor for this week's Wales Open.
“I probably was numb when I was finished,” McGinley said of his third round meltdown. “It’s like being hit with a stone. I didn’t know where it came from or how.
“I’m still shellshocked after shooting myself out of the tournament with a 79. Even though I had a chance today it was very difficult to come back from that.
“I hit the ball dreadful on the range before I went out this morning and it was just going to be a battle today, to be honest with you.
“The only conclusion I can come to is that it’s been so long since I played in the wind, looking back over the whole season, the last time I played in the wind was Qatar in February. I hadn’t even practiced in a strong wind. That is something I am going to have to address.”
Thanks to a 15th European Tour victory worth a career high €750,000, Jiménez takes over from Lee Westwood at the top of the European Points list and can look forward to earning his third Ryder Cup cap under skipper Nick Faldo at Valhalla in September.
Like McGinley on Saturday, overnight leader Karlsson got off to a dreadful start with bogeys at the first and third reducing his lead to a single stroke as Jiménez birdied the third and fourth and then holed a four-iron at the 203 yard fifth to edge in front.
The rest of the afternoon was a roller-coaster battle for the lead between the Spaniard and Mansfield native Wilson, who took the lead when Jimenez missed an 18 inch putt at the 15th.
However, he then bogeyed the 17th after driving into trees and missed birdie chances on the 18th in regulation and again at the first play-off hole that would have given him his maiden European Tour victory.
Despite all his travails, Swede Karlsson still had a chance of making it a three-way play-off with a closing birdie but three-putted from four feet instead for a bogey and a 74 that left him tied for third with Luke Donald (65) on nine-under par.
Runner-up for the seventh time in the space of three seasons, Wilson will move into the world’s top 50 today and earn his place in July’s Open at Royal Birkdale as well as the US Open.
As a result, Ireland’s Damien McGrane and Graeme McDowell also qualify for Birkdale through the Order of Merit alongside Irish Open winner Richard Finch.
Peter Lawrie (72) is still unsure whether he will try to pre-qualify for the US Open at Walton Heath next week after finishing tied 34th on one-under par with McGrane (74) a shot back in 40th and McDowell (74) near the back of the field on four over.