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European Tour: BMW PGA Championship Preview

The European Tour’s biggest event (on English soil) gets underway this week on the prestigious and famed Wentworth West Course.  The BMW PGA Championship always attracts a quality field and 2015 is no different.  Plenty of Race to Dubai points on offer, plenty of money, and plenty of peer adulation if players can get a win here.  Especially with Rory in the field.

The Course

Opened in 1926, the Harry Colt designed Wentworth West Course is a 7302 yard, par 73 classic. Set in healthy woodland it is one of the most beautiful natural settings of a golf course, mixing pine; oak and birch to create an attractive and tricky course in all seasons.

Despite being modernised by Ernie Eels in 2005 and 2012 the course has give up two course record 62s in recent times.  Robert Karlsson achieved the feat in the 3rd round of the BMW PGA Championship in 2010, and Thomas Bjorn went equally low in the first round last year.

The Sound Bites

“I practiced a lot in February and March, just to prepare for the Masters, and I probably did a little too much” – A novel excuse from Martin Kaymer to explain his disappointing recent form.

“This would be very special for me to add this one – call it a bucket-list tournament. Outside of the Major Championships, I can’t think of a tournament I’d like to win more than this one” – Justin Rose is putting a wee bit of pressure on himself to win this week.

The Defending Champion

Rory McIlroy stunned the field last year with a final round 66 to win by a single stroke from friend Shane Lowry.  Rory’s 14-under par total was particularly surprising not because of his standing in world golf, but because of his emotional standing after splitting from finance Caroline Wozniaki just days before the tournament.

McIlroy removed any doubts with his final round comeback win, in easily his best performance on the Wentworth West course.

The Contenders*

Rory McIlroy – Hasn’t finished outside the top ten in any Race to Dubai qualifying events this year.  Won last week with a devastating performance at Quail Hollow.  Oh, and he’s the defending champion – $4.00

Justin Rose – Enjoys a solid ranking in the Race to Dubai (currently 3rd) on the back of his tie for 2nd in the Masters.  Consistent ball striker who minimises mistakes and learns golf courses quicker than most.  Almost always in contention – $9.00

Martin Kaymer – 24th in Race to Dubai.  Two top fives in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and Abu Dhabi HSBS Golf Championship on the European Tour this season.  A little shaky of late bit could come good –   $26.00

Jaime Donaldson – Only 49th in Race to Dubai but tied for 8th in his last start at The Players Championship.  The big Welshman could surprise – $26.00

Brooks Koepka – Koepka’s an interesting case.  Very few Americans split their schedule between the tours but a measure of his determination to improve his game sees him regularly compete in Europe to increase his exposure to new courses and conditions.  He’s 39th in Race to Dubai on the back of a win in the Turkish Airlines Open in November, which he then backed up with a win on American soil at the Waste Management Phoenix Open – $51.00

*Odds taken from Betstar

The Winner

It seems foolish to tip against Rory, but he hasn’t always played this course well and is due a week off from the winners circle.   We haven’t included him in our contenders but we like the look of Danny Willet and Brooks Koepka.

Top Tips

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