The BMW PGA Championship takes place at Wentworth this week and Graeme McDowell is hoping to carry his recent good form into the flagship event on the European Tour. The Irishman claimed his second victory in three tournaments on Sunday, winning the Volvo World Match Play Championship in Bulgaria to add to his RBC Heritage title last month.
McDowell is bidding to join a role of honour at Wentworth which includes the likes of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Greg Norman and Ernie Els but the former US Open champion needs to improve a record which shows he has missed the cut for the last two years and managed just one top 20 finish in 10 attempts on the West Course. He is a best 22/1 on betfair but the man the bookies fear is Luke Donald.
A best 17/2 with Betfred, Donald is chasing a hat-trick in this prestigious tournament and has been in decent form in the States lately. The former world number one has been a little more selective in his appearances this year but made the top 20 in the Players Championship a couple of weeks ago and tied for third, behind McDowell, in the RBC Heritage, only two shots off the pace. Rory McIlroy (12/1 with Skybet and Ladbrokes) and Lee Westwood (also a best 12/1) have also flown back across the Atlantic to take part but, at similar odds, I’m more interested in Justin Rose.
Rose may be based in the States nowadays but grew up playing on Wentworth and knows the West Course like the back of his hand. He tied for second last year and must have a big chance of going one better this year on a rare appearance on the European Tour. After a rough April, Francesco Molinari looked to be back on track at the Volvo World Match Play and the 47/1 on betfair might be too big while I like the way Sweden’s Alexander Noren has been shaping this year. The 30-year-old from Stockholm won twice on the European Tour in 2011 and boasted seven top 10 finishes last year. In seven appearances this season, he has only once failed to break par over four rounds and last week’s China Open was the first time he’d failed to finish in the top 40. With each-way betting available for six places with most bookmakers, he may be worth a small bet at the general 66/1 but Rose is taken to bloom overall at Wentworth.