VIRGINIA WATER, England, May 27 (Reuters) - Denmark’s Anders Hansen won the PGA Championship for the second time in his career by beating Briton Justin Rose at the first hole of a sudden-death playoff on Sunday.
Hansen, the 2002 champion, punched the air in delight after rolling in an 18-foot putt for a birdie four on the 18th at a soggy Wentworth.
Rose (71) and Hansen (69) were tied on eight-under 280 at the end of the regulation 72 holes.
“I am really happy and in a way a little surprised,” the 36-year-old Dane told the BBC after landing the first prize of 725,000 euros ($973,700).
“I missed the cut the last two years so coming here I didn’t know quite what to expect but yesterday the greens became a little bit moist. When they do that they roll a lot better and that helped me.”
The only time Hansen has won in Europe has been at the PGA. Among the rewards for winning the tour’s flagship event are a five-year exemption on the circuit, a three-year exemption into the British Open and a place in next month’s U.S. Open.
The Dane has played mainly in the United States this year and this was only his second appearance in Europe.
“The travelling has been hard for me,” said Hansen. “It is tough to be away from my two kids because I miss them a lot.”
Hansen said he was committed to his U.S. schedule this season but much prefers to compete at home.
“I want to play in Europe,” he said. “I am more comfortable here.”
Rose produced a brilliant shot to make the playoff, hitting a 109-yard wedge to 18 inches at the last to set up a birdie four.
”I guess it is disappointing to come that close to winning a tournament and the playoff was really weird, it was over so quickly,“ said the 26-year-old Englishman. ”Anders rolled in the putt and I missed mine (from 15 feet).
“But all in all it is hard not to be pleased about playing so well at home and playing so well at a tournament I really love and that I watched so many times as a kid.”
One stroke adrift in joint third place were Fiji’s Vijay Singh (66) and Richard Sterne of South Africa (74). Argentine Angel Cabrera, who won this event two years ago, tied for fifth with Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain.
Britons Ross Fisher (84) and Paul Broadhurst (80), the joint overnight leaders, could not come to terms with the persistent rain that fell on the West Course in Surrey.
“I am going to be sitting at home tonight thinking about throwing away such a big tournament,” said the 26-year-old Fisher after finishing on 290. “No matter how hard I tried, it wasn’t quite happening for me.”