BMW PGA Championship Betting Tips
Robert Cobley is a maths graduate with years of experience in the sports betting industry. He has now teamed up with Bet UK to bring his golf betting tips to our readers.
West Course, Wentworth Golf Club - Surrey, England - Par 72, 7,284 Yards
This week the European Tour heads to it’s home at the Wentworth Club in Surrey for the 49th staging of its flagship event; The BMW PGA Championship. Held on the famous West Course, the PGA is the most lucrative and well supported event on the European Tour (away from The Open Championship), and this year as ever brings a high quality field headed by World number two Rory McIlroy.
Twenty five miles south west of central London, and designed in 1926 by architect Harry Colt, the West Course is a challenging tree lined heathland course with tight fairways and significant undulations. With trees lining both sides of the fairways, and doglegs on most of the longer holes, Wentworth requires real shot making in the oldest traditions of the game. Bunkering is severe, strategic, and highly penal both on the fairways and around the greens; punishing harshly any shot that is offline. If the bunkers don’t catch any errant approach shots, the shaved run off areas almost certainly will, and a good tee to green game is going to be a necessity to contend this week.
The wind often picks up around Wentworth, yet is unpredictable in its nature. It is characterised as swirly and any shots that go above the tree canopy are leaving a large part of the outcome to chance. This has been cited as a reason for Rory Mcilroy missing three of his last 5 cuts here. The course can really get a hold on even the best players in the World when conditions get tricky. A low ball flight and precision iron play is so important around the West Course. As you’d expect, the critical performance stat this week is greens in regulation, and don’t be surprised to see a long shot winner come from behind over the weekend; Wentworth isn’t somewhere that you can easily protect a lead.
Last Five Winners:
2018: Francesco Molinari - -17 2017: Alexander Noren - -11 2016: Chris Wood - -9 2015: Byeong-hun An - -21 2014: Rory McIlroy - -14
The Market Leaders
As he is in almost any field that he turns up amongst these days, Rory McIlroy (11/2) comes into this week as the favourite as he continues to support the European Tour following the conclusion of the Fedex Cup in the US. McIlroy has had a rollercoaster of a relationship with the West Course, finishing in the top 5 on three of his eight appearances, including a win in 2014, and either missing the cut, or finishing outside of the top 20, on the remainder of his visits. On the face of it, this should be a less suitable venue for Rory than most. There are more variables to Wentworth with doglegs, wind, and the hazards posed by the trees, bunkering, and run off areas levelling up the playing field over what he comes across most weeks in The US. This has pretty much fed into his returns here, and the missed cuts aren’t all too surprising. When a days golf gets the better of McIlroy, he can score higher than most, and he will be hoping for calm conditions this week. The wins are explained by his undoubted ability, and there is not a venue in the World he couldn’t turn up and overcome. The price is fair in that respect, but it’s not one that tempts me this week.
Spanish World number 8 John Rahm (10/1) sits second to Rory in the betting on what will be his maiden visit here. Rahm is unquestionably one of the very top players in the game, and this type of venue will suit him well. He can shape the ball both ways, has a long and low ball flight, and has proved his ability on courses with big greens and run off areas such as at The Open this year. If he is a regular visitor, Rahm should really reap the rewards on offer at Wentworth, but on his first appearance 10/1 is too much of a leap of faith this week, and he is another I am happy to pass by.
English duo Paul Casey (14/1) and Justin Rose (14/1) come next, and are both regular supporters of this event. Casey, who won The European Open when we backed him two weeks ago, is in fantastic form on the back of a great run in the Fedex Cup series. Before that he had finished 3rd in The Tour Championship, and has the game to contend here. Casey won this event back in 2009, and has posted three top 25s along with a missed cut in his five appearances since. I would have expected better from Casey, who’s game is similar to that of Rahm, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he is right there this week. Rose has been in slightly less impressive form, finishing 26th in the Fedex Cup before taking a month off before his reappearance here. He has two top 10s in seven appearances, but has never excelled on the West Course, and I would have Casey considerably shorter. If backing one of these, Casey is the one to go for.
Rob’s Betting Tips
Headline Betting Tips
This week I’m taking a punt on the highest priced headline tip to date, as 2016 winner and local lad Chris Wood comes into the event at a fairly inexplicable 175/1. It is true that Wood has suffered injuries over the past 12 months, and has only recently been able to begin making cuts again, but his 5 under par total and 40th placed finishing position at last week’s KLM Open showed that he is very much now back into the main echelons of the Tour, and his fantastic record around the West Course, particularly following the 2012 redesign cannot be ignored.
Wood has finishes of 6th and 4th to go with that win, as well as a solid top 30 last season when similarly out of touch, and cannot be ruled out here. He hits the ball long, and is another who can shape it nicely. Wood also has a great short game and, if he can make his fair share of putts, has the potential to be right in the mix again this year. Last year three out of his four rounds were under par, and he is ever improving having made his last three cuts on Tour. Whilst he shouldn’t be a market favourite, this price is far too big, and I am happy to have 2 points e/w at 175/1
Other Betting Tips
Belgian Thomas Pieters is enjoying his most successful season on Tour this year, and is in the midst of a particularly hot run of form, having followed up his win at the D&D Czech Masters with back to back top 20s, before a 10th place last week in Holland; all on courses far less suited to the big hitting twenty seven year old’s game. Pieters hits the ball mostly right to left, low, and wind is generally not a problem for him. He has played in every BMW PGA Championship that he has been eligible for, with finishes as high as 14th in 2017 before a missed cut last year when an opening day 75 all but ended his chances.
The concerns for him will be around the greens. His chipping is not to the same strength as other parts of his game, and he will need to rely heavily on his fantastic greens in regulation statistics which, at over 70%, are some of the best on Tour. If Pieters long game is at the same level as it has been for the last four weeks, he will be in a great position to improve upon that 14th place and really challenge for the title this week. I recommend 2 points e/w at 40/1
Scotsman Robert Macintyre recovered from a couple of barren weeks to post yet another 2nd placed finish at the European Open two weeks ago, finishing just a shot behind our tip of Paul Casey. That was Macintyre’s third 2nd placed finish of the season, and it can only be a matter of time before he takes the next step into the winner’s circle. Although this is his first competitive appearance at Wentworth, Macintyre has a great long game, and his short game is amongst the best on Tour. His highly impressive 6th at The Open in Portrush back in June ranks as impressively as any of the 2nd place finishes and i see synergies with that venue to this one. The winner that week, Shane Lowry, has a phenomenal record at Wentworth, finishing in the top 10 on over half his appearances here, and I have very high hopes that this course could be right up Macintyre’s street. One of those 2nd places was on another tough windy English course at the British masters and, despite the difficulty and prestige of the event, i see this as a as good an opportunity as any for the talented Scotsman to break his duck. I shall be having 2 points e/w at 70/1
Japanese veteran Hideto Tanihara has been tipped before, so far without any success, and I think he’s worth one last go at a venue where he has finishes of 3rd, and 35th in his only two appearances here over the past two years. As with most Japanese, and Asian players in general (An won here in 2015 with Jaidee runner up), this type of demanding and strategic test is right in his comfort zone. Tanihara’s best finish of the season came around a similarly demanding venue at Valderrama in July where he finished 8th, and this synergy seems to have been missed. Driving accuracy will be the stat that Tanihara needs to improve most on this week. He currently hits just over 50% of fairways, and this course will demand the driver more than was the case in Spain, but that still does not blunt his hopes as the 3rd place finish two years ago shows.
Hideto has really dedicated himself to breaking through on the European Tour this season, and this is a familiar venue for him whereas a lot of the others have been new. He has a great chance to be in the top 10, and to even challenge for the title if things go his way, so I make this price way off, and will be having 1 point e /w at 200/1
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*All odds from Bet UK’s online betting markets correct at the time of writing.
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