Unlucky 13? Not for Shane Lowry. In his 13th appearance in the BMW PGA Championship, and 13 years after his first tour victory, the amiable Irishman finally conquered at Wentworth’s West Course.

On an enthralling final day, which began with a 90-minute fog delay and then featured more ding-dong than a bell ringing contest, Lowry, who did not spill a shot all week, pipped Rory McIlroy and the valiant Jon Rahm by a single stroke at the end of an afternoon of thrilling theatre. A podium of Major champions underlined the quality of the battle.

The rampaging Rahm had seized the clubhouse lead on 16 under with a magical 10-under 62 and it took over two hours for that tally to be topped. When Lowry ticked in a birdie putt for a 65 just after 6pm, he moved to 17 under as he put the tin lid on a round that featured an eagle and five birdies. That left McIlroy, playing in the match behind, needing an eagle on the last to force a play-off.

The 33-year-old, who edged out Lowry to the PGA title here in 2014, gave it a gallant go and left himself with a 20-footer for a three on the par-5 18th. His putt to tie teetered on the edge of the cup but refused to drop. It was agony for McIlroy but ecstasy for Lowry. “I’m the happiest man in the world right now,” he beamed. “I love it here and I’ve contended in the past. This means so much to me.”

This was Lowry’s first win since the 2019 Open Championship. A first win at Wentworth, meanwhile, was richly deserved. His fine record in this neck of the woods down the seasons includes four top-10s.

Amid the discontent of the ongoing LIV Golf rebellion, there was also defiance to Lowry’s triumph.

“I wanted to go out and win this tournament for myself, first and foremost, but also for this tour and everyone that’s stayed loyal to this tour,” he said with a robust show of loyalty to the established circuits. “I feel like this is one for the good guys.”

Lowry is certainly one of the good guys.

“I think Shane winning softens the blow,” admitted McIlroy. “If it had been someone else, I might not have felt as comfortable with it as I am. Seeing a friend win is always great and I am really happy for him.”

Viktor Hovland and Soren Kjeldsen had been sharing the lead in an event reduced to 54 holes after the passing of Queen Elizabeth II but they became bit-part players as affairs unravelled. Rahm, runner-up in this championship in 2019, had been six shots off the pace heading into the final round but produced the kind of fearsome offensive that could have been accompanied by fixed bayonets.

During an extraordinary burst, the Spaniard covered his last 10 holes in nine under, and that included a bogey. His eagle putt from 30 feet on 12 had bolstered his assault while a 20-footer for another eagle on the last was greeted with a fist-pump of great gusto. At 16 under, Rahm had set a sturdy standard with a truly majestic display of poise, purpose and polish.

“The reaction you saw on the last hole was for finishing off a great round of golf,” he said of his celebration of a job well done. “That was about as good as I can play that hole. I was just thinking of going as low as I could. Everything clicked today.”

The prospect, meanwhile, of LIV rebel Patrick Reed carting off the DP World Tour’s most cherished title would have had the circuit’s officials grinding their teeth into powdery stumps. The former Masters champion certainly gave it a good go and the Texan showed his competitive fire with a sizzling 63 which propelled him into the early clubhouse lead on 14 under.

“I’m sure there would be some kind of media s*** storm is the easiest way to put it,” said Reed with a wry grin of the prospect of a LIV Golf player taking centre stage at the prize giving.

Paired with fellow LIV player Lee Westwood – the English veteran fired a 65 for 12 under – Reed revelled in the cut-and-thrust.

“There’s still some of that European and American Ryder Cup in us,” he added as both players prospered in each other’s company.

In the end, it was Talor Gooch who was the highest LIV finisher in fourth on 15 under. Who said these defectors are winding down?

“It just shows that the guys are still ready to play and guys are hungry to win and really just hungry for competition,” said Reed.

The competition on this final day of a unique, emotional Wentworth week had been splendid.