By News Team
7th September 2021
With the PGA Tour season now over it’s the turn of the European equivalent to take centre stage and what better way to do it than with its flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. This is one of the European Tour’s great events and it’s unsurprising that a high-class field is making its way to the iconic Surrey course with the aim of having their name etched on the famous trophy.
We’ve previewed the tournament ahead of Thursday’s opening salvo.
Plenty of class at the head of affairs
World number 14 Viktor Hovland is the favourite at 10/1 and it’s not hard to see why. He finished in a tie for fifth at last week’s Tour Championship having shot the equal fourth best 72-hole score which concluded with a 65, so his game is clearly in pretty fine fettle. He has also experienced the West Course at Wentworth having finished in a tie for 11th here in 2019 and is probably the right favourite, albeit he has a long flight over from America to deal with.
Since winning the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January, bar a second in the Palmetto Championship, Tyrrell Hatton hasn’t shown an awful lot of form with just one other top-10 finish. He’s of course the defending champion, but he’s missed three of his last five cuts and looks opposable at 16/1.
Shane Lowry (18/1) has only been outside the top-15 once in his last eight starts at Wentworth and on the back of that looks a real contender, although he’s recently become a Dad for the second time and it’s questionable how much practice he’ll have been able to do in the build-up.
South African poised to go well
Adam Scott (30/1) and Justin Rose (33/1) could go well, but the eye is drawn to South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout at 33/1. The main reason the 27-year-old looks a key player this week is his brilliant ability around the greens – a key pointer in this tournament. Of recent winners, Luke Donald in 2012, An Byeong-hun in 2015, Francesco Molinari in 2018 and Hatton in 2020 all led the scrambling stats, while Alex Noren was fourth in 2017 and Danny Willett in 2019 was eighth. In short, you need to find ways to get up and down around Wentworth and Bezuidenhout has that in abundance.
He ranks second in Strokes Gained: Around The Green on the PGA Tour this season and was also first in Scrambling in Europe last season. Moreover, when he teed it up here in 2019, an event he finished in a tie for third in, he ranked second in scrambling.
If that wasn’t enough he heads to the Surrey track in confident mood having secured his PGA Tour card for the upcoming season with a solo third in the Korn Ferry Tour Championships, where he closed with an eight-under par 65 – the lowest round of the day. Incredibly he hasn’t missed a cut since last year’s Scottish Open and looks poised for another bold showing.