The European Tour is preparing for its flagship event at Wentworth. Joe Hughes takes you through his best bets from the stellar field
It’s almost time for the European Tour’s flagship event to get underway and, as always, Wentworth is ready to host a stellar field.
With the PGA Tour altering its schedule for 2019, many of the world’s biggest names – that may not venture to Europe ordinarily – will be landing in the UK.
Rory McIlroy heads the betting market but there is plenty of value out there for those taking a punt. Here are my BMW PGA Championship betting tips…
Venue: Wentworth (West Course), Surrey
Date: September 19-22, 2019
Course stats: Par 72, 7,284 yards
Course summary: The traditional heathland layout of the West Course was designed by Harry Colt in 1926 and, despite having undergone several changes, the origins of the course can still be recognised. Tree-lined fairways call for players to play accurately and the wind must be taken into consideration.
Purse: €7 million
Defending champion: Francesco Molinari (-17)
Wednesday: Sky Sports Main Event & Golf, 4pm
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf, 10am & Sky Sports Main Event, 10.30am
Friday: Sky Sports Golf, 10am & Sky Sports Main Event, 11.20am & 3.20pm
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf, 12pm
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf, 12pm
BMW PGA Championship betting tips: Joe’s players to follow
As with many European Tour events, one of the most telling factors seems to be course form. Francesco Molinari is the ideal example, as he recorded five top tens in the six years leading up to his 2018 victory. So I’ve taken good notice of this when selecting my picks this week.
First up, Matt Fitzpatrick looks a nice price at 25/1. The Englishman has had a few weeks away from the course and, before that, was knocking on the door of a victory.
In his last three starts he has finished runner-up twice but did struggle to make any weekend progress last time out at the European Open, when finishing tied for 69th.
This doesn’t concern me too much though as all golfers have the odd off week and his course form makes for appealing reading.
The 25-year-old has played here in each of the last three seasons and built upon his performances year-on-year.
In 2016 he finished in a tie for 47th but managed to improve on this considerably and finished in a share of 12th the year after.
2018 saw him progress further and he produced his best finish – breaking into the top-10 and taking a share of 8th. I’m confident this trend will continue given his recent form and the positive thoughts a return to Wentworth should encourage.
Open champion Shane Lowry is another interesting prospect in the market at 40/1. The Irishman has enjoyed a fair amount of success here in recent seasons and knows his way around.
He has secured top 10 finishes in four of his last eight starts at Wentworth but is yet to win the marquee event.
He missed the cut in 2016 but, since then, finishes of tied 6th and tied 15th have made it increasingly more obvious that the poor showing was merely an anomaly.
The one reservation I have about Lowry’s chances is the lack of golf he has played since his historic Open win in July. He’s only teed it up twice and finished tied for 52nd and 48th in those outings. But this could work in his favour as he will likely be well rested and raring to go.
He definitely has a stronger chance than ever to get his hands on this trophy but I think each-way is definitely a wise option here.
Branden Grace (100/1) has a fine record around this layout and, despite his sketchy form, offers good value for a place.
The South African finished tied 5th here last year and tied 9th the year prior. I think there’s a very real possibility he can recover some sort of form and challenge at the head of the leaderboard.
He now plays most of his golf over in the USA on the PGA Tour but hasn’t won there since 2016, so I’m hoping a return to the European Tour can result in a return on an each-way bet.
Having said course form is a big pointer this week, I’m making an exception for Viktor Hovland (28/1).
The Norwegian turned professional part of the way through last season and has been in absolutely stunning form ever since.
Hovland equalled Bob Estes’ record for the most consecutive rounds in the 60s at the opening event of the 2019-20 PGA Tour season, The Greenbrier.
The 21-year-old has now recorded 17 sub-70 rounds in a row and if he can bring this form with him to England I’m sure he’ll be up there on Sunday.
The relatively short odds being quoted regularly for Hovland is a sign of just how highly he is rated and I think there is definitely money to be made on him.
Unsurprisingly, his low scoring has led to some fine finishes and he has secured top 10s in three of his last four outings, with a tied 11th the worst result.