Franesco Molinari distanced himself from the field on the strength of a front-nine 32 to win the BMW PGA Championship, the European Tour's flagship event, by two strokes. Molinari shot a bogey-free, four-under 68 at the Wentworth Club in England to finish at 17-under, while Rory McIlroy finished solo second at 15-under.
Alex Noren and Lucas Bjerregaard finished a stroke further back to finish in a tie for third at 14-under.
McIlroy, who led by three entering the weekend and started the final day in a tie for the lead with Molinari, could not get anything going early but finished with consecutive birdies to shoot a two-under 7. Bjerregaard, a long-hitting 26-year-old from Denmark, equaled the lowest round of the week with a seven-under 65 to vault intoup the leaderboard.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Branden Grace finished tied for fifth at 13-under.
The win is Molinari's fifth on the European Tour and, along with the 2010 WGC-HSBC Champions, among the most significant of the 35-year-old Italian's career.
Grouped on the final day with McIlroy and Ross Fisher, Molinari took control with birdies on 3 and 4, then added another at 12. He would not drop a shot the entire day and maintained a multiple-shot cushion down the stretch to collect the $1.67 million winner's check.
The BMW was the first Rolex Series event of the year, a group of eight tournaments on the European Tour that feature enhanced prize money and more signifcant points toward the season-long Race to Dubai.