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October 28, 2013

Fernandez-Castano wins BMW Masters

SHANGHAI — Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano called it the perfect win, even though his final hole Sunday to win the BMW Masters was anything but perfect.

Fernandez-Castano chipped in from across the green for birdie on the tough 17th hole at Lake Malaren to build a three-shot lead. Then, he let memories of Jean Van de Velde’s collapse creep into his head, and only when the 33-year-old Spaniard holed a 2-foot putt for double bogey did he exhale.

“I made it a little more complicated,” Fernandez-Castano said.

He still closed with a 4-under 68 for a one-shot win over Francesco Molinari (64) and Thongchai Jaidee (66). Luke Guthrie, the 23-year-old American playing in Asia for the first time, didn’t make a birdie until the 13th hole and closed with a 71 to finish alone in fourth, two shots behind.

Fernandez-Castano gave Spain its first European Tour win this year, extending the streak to 20 years of at least one Spanish victory.

But this was more for him than country.

The victory gets Fernandez-Castano into the HSBC Champions next week in Shanghai, critical for him to stay in the hunt for the Race to Dubai. He moved up from No. 35 to No. 4 in the standings, and the World Golf Championship offers $8.5 million in prize money.

He won 851,346 euros at the BMW Masters, putting him well ahead on the European Points portion of the Ryder Cup standings.

It also puts him into the top 50 in the world, which is critical for the Spaniard as he embarks on his first full season on the PGA Tour. He will get in at least two WGCs, and staying in the top 50 would get him into the majors. Fernandez-Castano is moving his family to Miami in December.

“Just at the perfect time,” he said. “There’s never a bad time for a victory, let’s put it that way. But this has been just the perfect one.”

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