Golf Betting: BMW PGA Championship tips: Hatton can succeed at his favourite event but Lowry is worth a punt at 50/1


BMW PGA Championship Overview and betting market

Renovations or course alterations always seem to be a talking point when the European Tour Flagship event comes around. This year Wentworth has listened and seen some big changes to the West course ahead of the 2017 BMW PGA Championship renewal. All 18 greens have been reseeded with creeping bent grass to replace the mix of old strain Bent / Poa in years past. The main design changes include softening the contours of the greens, and decreasing the depth of, and reconstructing the bunkering. Sand traps on the course have been reduced by nearly 30, removing some of the very penal and strategically placed fairway hazards.

Chris Wood - 34.00 -  will return to defend while 2015 champ Byeong Hun An - 23.00 - will also tee it up. The biggest notable absentee will be Rory McIlroy who withdrew due to injury. Alvaro Quiros earned a starting berth with a long awaited return to form with a win last week in Sicily. Heading the betting is Englishman Justin Rose and Swede Henrik Stenson  who both trade at 11.00 - while Ian Poulter returns to the West course after accepting an invitation. Francesco Molinari - 17.00 - is at the peak of his form and the Italian owns 4 top 10 finishes in the last five years here at Wentworth.  

The course - Wentworth West course -  7,267 yards, par 72

Included in the West course changes is the full redesign of four greens – on the 8th, 11th, 14th and 16th holes, while five greens – on the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 12th and 15th holes – were partially rebuilt. A sub-air system was also installed on the greens, which along with a dry forecast will help make conditions firmer and faster, and new irrigation and drainage was also introduced on selected fairways. The 3rd, 10th and 18th tees were down to be rebuilt and modernised. Wentworth is a Heath / Woodland style track and new plants and trees have been added around the course. Design was overseen by Ernie Els who brought in the likes of Thomas Bjorn and Paul McGinley as consultants. Early consensus is positive from the players....

Stephen Gallacher: "Just played 18 holes on the newly redesigned Wentworth, well done to all involved its exceptional"

While the course will be more playable and less penal, the challenges will still remain the same on the West course. It's a ball strikers paradise where shaping shots both ways through the woodland terrain and the valleys and elevation changes is the requirement. Greens are severely elevated and guarded by run offs and bunkers, albeit with the changes, it won't be quite as punishing in the future. In my opinion the premium is on approach shots and those with high towering irons and distance control efficiency should be at an advantage. Benny An led both the driving distance and Greens in Regulation % stats when winning at the BMW Championship in 2015 and Benny rates his iron play as his best attribute.

 

What they said.......
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Ernie Els: “It’s been a real team effort. It’s been hard work, but it’s been a wonderful experience. I think the product you’ll see this time will be something the players will really enjoy. The guys will have smiles on their faces again. Their bad shots will get punished, but not as badly as before.“We’ve improved the greens and taken bunkers out, and restored holes to their former glory. Some holes won’t even have bunkers on them anymore. The crowds will enjoy it and the players will too.”




Thomas Bjorn: There was certainly a feeling to get this golf course back to where it was,”.It will still be a really tough test, but we’ve taken some of the tough obstacles out which we didn’t think Wentworth was all about.“It is an old style course and it had probably been a little over-modernised, so we brought it to where we think it should be and back to the traditions of this golf course.

Paul McGinley : “The players wanted to go back in the direction of the old Harry Colt design. They wanted the contours on the greens to be softened, and the bunkering to be changed. I certainly couldn’t see out of the bunkers before, and not many guys could. So those were the two big things we changed.“We’ve also put in a sub-air system into the greens which will dry them out and get it back to a firm, fast golf course, which players have always loved playing in the past.

BMW PGA Championship Best Bets

Tyrell Hatton - 26.00 or 6.00 - declared on Twitter that the BMW Championship at Wentworth is his favourite event of the year and Tyrell owns a decent form line of 38 - 46 - 7 here. That 7th last year was one of many top 10s that saw the Englishman with the most top 10s on Tour in '16. He's continued his brilliant consistency in 2017 with a myriad of top 10 and high finishes. Continuing the theme of the number 10,  Hatton ranks 10th in greens in reg this year on the European Tour..

Tommy Fleetwood - 31.00 or 7.00 - is one of the best when it comes to tee to green play and he ranks second in greens in regulation with a clip of nearly 85% in Europe. He's won in Abu Dhabi, had a recent 2nd in China at the Shenzen International and has been performing well in the States too with a runner-up at the tight and tree-lined WGC Mexico Championship under his belt. He comes to Wentworth off the back of a decent 41st at the Players Championship and looks the standout at the front of the market despite only notching one top 10 here before. Maybe the changes will suit. 

Shane Lowry - 51.00 or 11.00 - is three times as big in price this year compared to last and I'm going to stick with the Wentworth specialist who owns a 50% top 6 strike rate here in his last 6 appearances, including a runner-up finish to compatriot Rory McIlroy in 2014. Shane has been working on his putting and was trending in the right direction before a missed cut at the Players Championship. Having been following him closely recently I can't help but think he's playing better than his results show. The big man is 41st in strokes gained tee to green on the PGA Tour and we can get him at a juicy price on a course that sets up nicely.