One of the strongest fields the European Tour has seen this year has Viktor Hovland coming in as favourite over defending champion Tyrrell Hatton. The Englishman had a blistering start to the year winning in Abu Dhabi in the opening event, though he has been rather disappointing on the whole since then, achieving just three top-15 finishes from his 16 subsequent events, while he’s now missed three of his last five cuts so it’s difficult to get behind him here at such a short price. With the stage set at the stunning Wentworth Golf Club matched by a top-class field, check out our preview and predictions for what should be a thrilling four days of golf.
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Wentworth plays at just under 7,300 yards and is a tree-lined, second shot par-72. It tends to be quite a forgiving course if the winds stay away and that certainly lends itself to a strong low scoring weekend ahead.
Hovland is a slightly more justified market leader than Hatton, however. He would have finished fourth at the Tour Championships last weekend should starting strokes have not been implemented, while he also finished 11th on his first and only visit to Wentworth a couple of years back.
His European Tour form reads 3-6-1-12, the most recent of which came at the Open, and he certainly looks to be the one to beat here.
This is very much a second shot and scrambling course, so dialled in irons are a must unless your work around the greens is where you excel, and Hovland led the field at East Lake in Shots Gained: Approach, so he certainly has the credentials, and a win would be phenomenal for confidence heading into the Ryder Cup.
Shane Lowry and Matt Fitzpatrick
Shane Lowry and Matt Fitzpatrick follow on in the betting, though the Irishman has won just twice on this tour since the Portugal Open in October 2012, the most recent of which came at the Open in 2019 and he’s not managed a top-10 in any of his 15 subsequent events.
Fitzpatrick is still looking for his first win this season, and while he began strongly with an MC-17-5-11-10-9 record at the beginning of the year, his last three events read 57-MC-MC and he doesn’t quite justify his price on that basis.
One that stands out further down the list is young Italian Guido Migliozzi. Good scramblers have tended to go very well here in the past, with each of the last four winners ranking in the top eight (Noren was 4th in 2017, while Molinari and Hatton both led the field for scrambling in 2018 and 2020, respectively).
Migliozzi has been exceptional around the greens of late, leading the field at the Olympics where it was primarily his putter that let him down on some unfamiliar greens, and he ranked eighth for scrambling just two weeks ago in a seventh-placed finish in the European Masters.
A second place in the British Masters was largely down to his work around the greens, too, having ranked second in that regard and a similar showing here will make his price look far too long.
The other that really tempts, albeit at a much shorter price than Migliozzi, is Alex Noren. The cream tends to rise to the top at Wentworth and a player of Noren’s calibre and experience will tend to go very well around here.
He’s proven that already and has a phenomenal course pedigree, winning here in 2017 and following that up with a third-placed finish on defence.
His form looked very shaky over the last couple of seasons, though the Swede is beginning to show some good signs of returning back to his best form.
He finished fourth at the Rocket Mortgage Classic at the beginning of July, where he scrambled phenomenally, and it was his work around the greens again which kept him in contention at the Olympics in Japan.
Back-to-back top-10 finishes in the FedEx Cup playoffs were unfortunately not enough to see him qualify for the top-30, though he was playing out of his skin there in events that he has always tended to do well in, and if that’s the trend, there’s little reason he can’t come up trumps this weekend.