A meeting of golfing masters.

The BMW Masters.

The BMW Masters is the latest member of the BMW tournament family. A world-class field assembled at Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai for the first time in October 2012 to fight it out for a share of the 7 million US dollars of prize money. The tournament follows in the tradition of the BMW Asian Open, which was held for the last time in 2008 – also in Shanghai – and formed the basis for BMW’s commitment to golf in China. Since 2013, the BMW Masters is the opening tournament of the European Tour's prestigious Final Series.

2013 Recap

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The winner of the 2013 BMW Masters is Spain’s Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño. The man from Madrid carded a final round of 68 (-4) to triumph at the inaugural event on the European Tour’s new Final Series. The 33-year-old ended the prestigious tournament with a score of -11 (277 shots) – one ahead of his closest rivals Francesco Molinari (ITA, -10) and Thongchai Jaidee (THA, -10) who finished tied in the runner-up spot.

Fernández-Castaño, who leaves Shanghai with the BMW Masters trophy and a cheque for 1,166,000 US dollars, started the final day one shot behind American Luke Guthrie (-9). The rising star from Illinois had led the world-class field at the BMW Masters right from his opening round of 65 (-7), but could do no better than a 71 on Sunday as he missed out on his maiden win on the European Tour, eventually finishing a creditable fourth.

Behind Fernández-Castaño, a whole host of players were producing eye-catching rounds in perfect conditions – none more so than last year’s winner Peter Hanson (-7). The Swede fired eleven birdies en route to a sensational round of 63 (-9) – his lowest ever on the European Tour – and climbed to eighth place. Hanson was left to rue his poor opening round, however, and could do nothing to stop his title going to "Gonzo". His Spanish successor showed nerves of steel on Sunday, carding six birdies and just one double-bogey on the 18th. By the time he reached the final green, however, Fernández-Castaño had already opened up a three-shot lead and calmly sank a one-metre putt for the biggest win of his career so far.

The victory was Fernández-Castaño’s seventh on the European Tour and his third at a BMW tournament. His triumph at the 2006 BMW Asian Open also came in Shanghai, while the Spaniard’s most recent win was at the 2012 BMW Italian Open. He now joins compatriot Miguel Angel Jiménez as one of just two players to have tasted success at three BMW events.


Star Players Challenge and Opening Night

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Drum roll for the European Tour’s new "Final Series": Last year’s Race to Dubai winner Rory McIlroy, the current leader of the European Tour’s money list Henrik Stenson, defending BMW Masters champion Peter Hanson and crowd favourite Wu Ashun represented the 78-strong, world-class field at the opening press conference. After a performance of traditional Chinese drumming, during which the four pros also tried their hand with drumsticks rather than golf clubs, the players were each presented with a Chinese fortune cookie, inside which were promising prophecies ahead of the battle for one of the most coveted titles on the European Tour.

The first title was decided directly after the opening press conference – at the "Star Players Challenge" in the modern district of Pudong. Stenson, Hanson and Ashun headed to the "Bund" – the promenade along the bank of the Huangpu River – where they played out an exciting "Nearest-the-Pin" competition against the impressive Shanghai skyline. The stars’ task was made all the more tricky by a "visual obstacle", over which they had to play: the new BMW i8. The plug-in hybrid is the sports car of the future and caught the eye of the Chinese spectators, almost stealing the show from the four star golfers. Hanson was the least distracted during the "Star Player Challenge", landing his ball closest to the hole.

On Tuesday evening, McIlroy and Chinese Olympian Xu Lijia opened the event at the Lake Malaren Golf Club. 2012 runner-up McIlroy hit the symbolic opening shot of the tournament week to trigger a spectacular laser show, which thrilled defending champion Hanson and guests in the Fairway Club.

The BMW Masters trophy enjoyed an appropriately grand entrance: Xu Lijia boarded her Laser yacht to transport the coveted trophy over the lake to the 18th green. The BMW Brand Ambassador won gold in the Laser Radial class at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and has since become one of the biggest sports stars in China.

2014 BMW Masters

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The 2014 BMW Masters will take place from 30th October to 2nd November and will once again form part of the European Tour "Final Series", four tournaments ending with the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. The four tournaments are the US$7 million BMW Masters, the US$8.5 million WGC-HSBC Champions, the US$7 million Turkish Open and the US$8 million DP World Tour Championship, Dubai – making the total prize fund for "The Final Series" a staggering US$30.5 million.

Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Sales and Marketing, says: "The BMW Masters underlines BMW’s strong commitment to the world of golf, as well as to China itself, which is BMW’s largest market. This tournament is part of BMW´s commitment to supporting the growth of golf in China. We look forward to seeing everyone again at the BMW Masters in 2014."

As soon as tickets are available for the 2014 BMW Masters, you will find out here.