European Tour: BMW PGA Championship 2020 Preview
The eyes of the golfing world will be on Wentworth this week as the prestigious BMW PGA Championship gets underway.
The tournament is the European Tour’s flagship event and has been won by some of the best players to grace the sport including Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros and Bernhard Langer.
The tournament was historically staged during May, but was moved to autumn last year to avoid clashing with the US PGA Championship.
The decision was a massive success, with the tournament attracting a high-quality field, and this year’s event is no exception in that respect.
England’s Danny Willett lifted the trophy last year to secure his most significant victory since claiming the US Masters back in 2016.
Read on as we look at some of the leading contenders this time around.
Willett May Struggle to Follow Up
Willett finished three shots ahead of Jon Rahm to win last year, but he is rated as a 50/1 shot in the 888 Sports betting to win the 2020 BMW PGA Championship.
The 33-year-old has fallen to 49 in the world rankings having finished in the top 10 just once in 16 events during the current campaign.
Willett missed the cut at the US Open and followed with an early exit from the Scottish Open last weekend after shooting 74 and 69 in the opening two rounds.
Luke Donald was the last player to retain the title in 2012 and Willett is likely to have his work cut out to match the feat against a strong field.
Reed on a Recovery Mission
Patrick Reed finished fourth here on his debut last year, and his performances on other tree-lined courses suggest he could be dangerous this week.
The world number nine is amongst the favourites to win the event and he has a major point to prove following his implosion in the US Open.
Reed was the overnight leader heading into the third round at Winged Foot, but shot a seven-over-par round to plummet out of contention.
If the 30-year-old can keep his composure he could challenge for the title, although odds of around 9/1 look too short for a player with a fragile temperament.
Fleetwood is One to Swerve
Tommy Fleetwood is also amongst the front-runners in the betting, but he is another player who represents little in the way of value.
Fleetwood has won just once in the last 32 months and blew a golden opportunity by putting poorly in the final round at the Scottish Open last weekend.
The world number 17 managed to force a play-off, but he messed up on the green at the first extra hole to hand Aaron Rai the victory.
Although Fleetwood is a talented player, he appears to lack the mental fortitude needed to win tournaments at the moment.
Rai Ready to Roll Again
Rai has been in fine form in recent weeks, finishing second in the Irish Open before seeing off the rest of the field in Scotland.
George Coetzee, Sam Horsfield and John Catlin have all won back-to-back titles this season and Rai could well follow their lead in the BMW PGA Championship.
His maiden victory on the European Tour came at the tree-lined Fanling course in Hong Kong, and the set-up at Wentworth should be right up his street.
He played impressively to overhaul the leaders last weekend and looks a good value bet to secure at least a top-four finish this week.
Lowry Too Good to Ignore
Shane Lowry loves playing at Wentworth and he looks vastly overpriced at odds of 33/1 to come out on top this week.
In 10 previous attempts in the tournament, he has secured seven top-15 finishes and rewarded each-way punters on three occasions.
Four of those top-15s have come over the last five years, further highlighting why it is foolish to underestimate his chances.
With the miserable weather forecast also in Lowry’s favour, he is strongly fancied to record his first victory of the 2020 campaign.
Hatton Could be Dangerous
Tyrrell Hatton should also be in the mix this week, despite ending his recent stint overseas by missing the cut at the US Open.
The 28-year-old, who won his first PGA Tour title at Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, has secured three top-five finishes since golf resumed.
Hatton has been putting in plenty of fitness work off the course, and those efforts appear to be paying dividends at the moment.
The world number 15 grew up not far from Wentworth, and his familiarity with the course should stand him in good stead during the tournament.
BMW PGA Championship Prediction: Lowry has previously proven his liking for wet conditions, and it would be a major surprise if he isn’t in contention for victory this week.
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