BMW PGA Championship preview and betting card by Ashley Wilkes
BMW PGA Championship Golf Tips
Thomas Pieters 50/1 - 1.75pt e/w 8 places – Bet 365
Lee Westwood 66/1 - 1.5pt e/w 8 places – Bet 365
Robert MacIntyre 80/1 - 1pt e/w 7 places – Unibet
Andy Sullivan 150/1 - 0.5pt e/w 7 places – Betfred/Unibet
Francesco Laporta 190/1 - 0.5pt e/w 8 places – Bet 365
Justin Walters 200/1 - 0.25pt e/w 8 places – Skybet
Another return last week for the article but another case of what could have been, as our selection Ewen Ferguson was defeated by Oliver Wilson and his ridiculously hot putter. If we keep getting selections in contention, I’m sure Sunday luck will shine on us once again soon. This week we have the rare occasion that the eyes of the golf world are on the DP World Tour, with no PGA tournament and Wentworth playing host to the flagship event of the tour. An excellent field has assembled along with a few decent side stories to focus on as well. This week we’re looking for good all-round tee to green players who can deal with any wind that Wentworth may throw at them. Plenty of poor putters have won this so I’m not putting too much stock in putting stats this week.
The top of the market is dominated by high-quality PGA Tour players and it would be no surprise at all if one of them went on to win this. I’ve managed not to take any of them this week as I couldn’t find any value amongst any of them despite their obvious credentials. If you really want to take one at the top Shane Lowry would have been my pick. My first selection is someone who has the talent to fit into that group, but a lack of consistency means he’s 50/1 this week, Thomas Pieters. Hard to believe it’s 6 years since his brilliant Ryder Cup performance at Hazeltine and it’s a real shame he hasn’t kicked on since then, but this year has been pretty solid with 5 Top 10’s and only 3 missed cuts from 16 starts. His sole victory this season was in another of the high-quality DP World Tour fields back in January at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. A lot of the top of the market will have just finished playing the PGA Tour playoffs but Pieters comes into this fresh having only played once since the Open. I think this is an advantage and his performance in that one start (D+D Czech Masters) was encouraging. 9th here last year hopefully shows he’s beginning to get to the grips with the course and I’m expecting further improvement still this year.
My next selection is Lee Westwood. With LIV not producing any strokes gained stats, I decided to sit through all 3 days of the LIV Boston event last week as there are 17 players teeing it up this week from that tournament. Without getting into the discussion about the event and the concept the only player who is of interest to me this week is Westwood. He should have made the playoff on Sunday, but he threw in his first bad shot of the day on his final hole to miss out by 1. We’ve seen over the past couple of years that he’s able to hold his form really well and he’ll be coming into this with a 6th and 4th on his form line. He’s played here countless times and has a 2nd and a 9th to his name so he’s well used to these surroundings. For all the talk, I think the crowd will give him a decent reception and I don’t see missing the Pro-Am as a negative in the slightest. I was expecting opening shows of 50/1 and while that number is around, there’s plenty of 66s to take as well and that’s more than fair for my second selection.
Next up is Robert MacIntyre a man who has shown in his relatively short career that he relishes the big occasions. His best finishes have predominantly been in majors or other high profile DP World Tour events. His ball striking has improved considerably since the Open and if he’d putted better last week he’d have seriously contended. His form of 28,58,MC here doesn’t jump of the page, but he’s young and it can be forgiven and that’s part of the reason why we can get 80/1 on him this week.
Finally, we have three long shots to conclude the card. Andy Sullivan at 150/1 has drawn me in with some impressive ball-striking performances recently, I feared the worst for his career after a poor start to the season but he’s proved me wrong gaining positive strokes Ball Striking in each of his last 4 starts. He has a 3rd place finish here from 2020 and the course should suit with his impressive approach and around the green skills, he will need to have a good putting week to get it done but that’s not out of the realms of possibility. In addition to Sullivan, I’m also taking Francesco Laporta, the Italian comes into this off the back of a good couple of weeks on tour with a 16th and 4th place finish to go alongside his course form of 6th last year. These are very small sample sizes but at 190/1 I don’t need much convincing to take a chance. Finally, Justin Walters rounds off the card, with 282 tour starts and 0 wins, it’s fairly unlikely he wins this week. However, if Blandy can do it anyone can do it. Walters hits the ball incredibly well and is often at the top of the Strokes Gained Approach charts, with a cold putter consistently letting him down, but a third place in the Betfred British Masters this year shows just how close he can go even when losing strokes on the greens. This is a course which gives poor putters a chance and at 200/1 even if he can place you’re getting a decent return.