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Justin Rose finishes in a tie for second at the BMW PGA Championship
JUSTIN Rose was denied a first ever victory in the BMW PGA Championship as an imperious Luke Donald successfully defended his crown at Wentworth.
Donald, the 2011 champion, brutally crushed the challenge from Hampshire’s Rose to once again claim the European Tour’s flagship event and move back into the world number one spot.
Rose, who used to travel the short distance from his family’s home in Hook to watch the tournament as a boy, has long dreamed of winning here.
The former North Hants member will have to wait at least another year for that to become a reality, though, after coming up agonisingly short again.
Rose, who went out in the final pairing, finished the tournament in a tie for second with Paul Lawrie on 11-under-par, four shots behind Donald’s winning score.
It is the second time in the 31-year-old's career that he has come close to lifting the trophy, having lost to Anders Hansen in a playoff in 2007.
"Luke buried a lot of putts in the middle of the round," said a philosophical Rose. "That seemed to be the main difference. He just played really, really well today.
"It’s tough when you’re having to try and make birdies. When you chase you end up making mistakes.
"I feel like I played really well today. I hit a lot of good iron shots. It’s been a good week. It was nice to be in the final group, it was a great pairing with Luke, great crowds. That was fun to be a part of.
"Luke, credit to him, played like a champion."
Rose began the day in second place, two shots in arrears, and he fell three back with a bogey at the second.
But two birdies immediately followed and, when Donald three-putted the fourth hole, the pair were suddenly level at ten-under.
Lesser golfers might have been fazed to see their lead evaporate so quickly, but not Donald.
As the heat was turned up at a searing Wentworth, he remained the coolest man out there, turning the screws on Rose with birdies at the sixth and seventh to restore his two-shot lead.
The advantage extended to three at the tenth, as Donald rattled home a 20-foot putt for a birdie two, before Rose wasted a sublime tee shot by missing from inside ten feet.
The pair exchanged birdies at the par five 12th, Donald matching his opponent despite having found a fairway bunker with his drive.
Any lingering doubt over the destination of the trophy was removed when Rose plugged his approach at 16 into a greenside bunker, taking bogey, while Donald calmly rolled in yet another birdie putt to move five clear.
Rose had a four footer for birdie at the last to ensure an outright second placed finish, but his putt lipped out.