DraftKings have now launched an all new European Tour lobby filled with contests to their renamed “Golf” section and what a week to start.
Still considered the flagship event of the European Tour (for now!), the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth generally attracts most of Europe’s top players. There are several absentees this week however, most notably 2014 champion and World No.3, Rory McIlroy who has decided to take the week off.
Looking at the players who have made the trip though, it should still make for a stellar event and it’s nice also to see PGA Tour regulars, David Lingmerth and Jamie Lovemark test themselves on the other side of the pond.
What will it take to win this week? Well that is always the golden question and I have gone into in more detail in my betting preview here http://thesportsfamily-com.thesportsfamily.com/2016/05/22/bmw-pga-championship-preview-2/
Here is a streamlined version.
The Course (Wentworth GC – West Course)
Key stats and trends
Greens in Regulation – Four of the last five winners of this event have ranked inside the top-4 for Greens in Regulation on the week, with McIlroy the exception ranking 22nd. Donald who has won twice ranked 10th in 2012 but 3rd in 2011.
Course experience – Byeong-hun An was just the third player in history to win on their debut here, proving that a previous look at the course is certainly advantageous.
British winners – Whilst I wouldn’t normally pigeon hole the nationality of a player or the region they are from, for obvious reasons, British players play well in this home event. Since Colin Montgomerie went on his spree of three wins in a row between 1998-2000, seven other British players have won this event.
You do get a surprise package on a regular basis in this event and finding those sort of players below the 7k range like every other week will be vital. You can easily make a case for the more expensive players, however finding that low-value/high-reward guy is going to be as important as ever in the DFS format.
Without further ado, here are my top picks for each price category.
Elite Picks ($10,000 +):
Shane Lowry ($11,000) – Shane Lowry has a stellar record at Wentworth and after winning the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last year he has started to fulfil the potential that has been there since winning the Irish Open as an amateur back in 2009.
After that win at the WGC it fills you with a bit more confidence that he can get the job done in these sort of events and thus warrant his salary and/or his betting odds.
In six visits to the course Lowry has three top-6 finishes a 12th and zero missed cuts proving he is definitely comfortable with the layout.
He has finished 23rd (Irish Open) and 16th (Players Championship) in his last two starts so he is obviously striking the ball well and will no doubt be ready to contend at one of his favourite courses again this week.
Francesco Molinari ($10,700) – Francesco Molinari is an excellent player for fantasy, especially this week. He doesn’t win often enough to make his odds each week represent much value, but I am happy to roll the dice with him in a couple of fantasy line-ups.
The Italian is in fine form making his last five straight cuts, which include two top-10s and a 17th in events arguably tougher than this. All three of the top finishes mentioned have come in America, with the top-10s coming at the Players Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational, whilst the 17th came at the Wells Fargo.
Molinari has played at Wentworth ten times, missing the cut just twice (both of which came in his first three starts) and over the last four years has really started playing well here. This coincides with the changes made to the course in 2010 by Ernie Els.
Between 2010-2015, Molinari has finished 17-50-7-9-7-5, so four top-10s in his last four starts here show why he’s well fancied this year.
High-End picks ($8,000-$9,900):
Luke Donald ($9,700) – Donald has shown a new lease of life so far on the PGA Tour this season, making 11/14 cuts and finishing 28th or better on four occasions.
His best showing by a long way was his 2nd at the RBC Heritage and despite a disappointing final round, it was still encouraging to see him back in contention once again.
He finished T13 the week after and although he missed the cut and finished T71 in two events since, he is definitely playing well enough to contend here.
Donald is a two-time winner of this event, both of which came since the re-design (2011 & 2012), and his 3rd here in 2014 further confirmed he still enjoys the set-up at Wentworth.
Even when out of sorts last year, the Englishman still managed to finish 38th and I think he will improve on that greatly this week.
Rafa Cabrera Bello ($9,600) – Anyone that has been watching golf of late knows the Spaniard is in the form of his life and the only thing missing from this season is a trophy, something he has not managed to get his hands on since 2012.
Bello had two runner-up finishes in the desert earlier in the year, but it is perhaps his performances in America of late which have really boosted his reputation.
He has finished T11 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, 3rd at the WGC-Match Play, 4th at the Shell Houston Open and T17 at the Masters on his first appearance. Arguably all these events, maybe barring the Houston Open were stronger events than this, so I can certainly see him contending here.
In seven visits to Wentworth, Bello has missed four cuts, but when he has made the weekend he has three top-17 finishes. I cannot see him missing the cut this week, his missed cut at the Players Championship was his only one of the year so far, so he should be in line to go well this week.
He has proved he can successfully negotiate the course and with the form he is coming into this week with, I certainly predict he will post his best finish in this event so far.
Honourable Mentions: Lee Westwood ($9,900), Soren Kjledsen ($8,800) and Chris Wood ($8,000)
Mid-Range Picks ($6800-$7900):
James Morrison ($7,500) – This mid-range bracket is probably the hardest of the week for me to narrow down, but I am more than happy with the players I have sided with.
Alongside Bello, Morrison is another player I have bet on this week because his odds of 70/1 were far too appealing given his current and course form.
In his last four starts, he has two top-10s (a 4th and a 10th) and has missed just one cut, whilst he also, like Bello plays well at this course when making the weekend.
Morrison has played here five times, missing three cuts but also posting finishes of 11th (last year) and 10th (2012), so he can definitely play well here.
Two of his three missed cuts came in his first two starts, before he posted that stellar 10th place finish,which was actually a bit of a disappointment for him in the end considering he held a four-stroke lead over eventual winner, Luke Donald in 2012 through 36 holes.
He finished 10th last week at the Irish Open and 4th at the Open de Espana when defending his title six weeks ago.
Morrison tends to play well in similar places each year and given his past history here, I am willing to take a chance on him given his modest salary.
Eddie Pepperell ($7,400) – Pepperell has missed just two cuts this season, but he has been rather lacklustre since his T8 finish at the Alfred Dunhill at the tail-end of 2015, well up until last week.
Pepperell finished T8 again last week at the Irish Open and picked an excellent time to find some form.
He has played Wentworth on three occasions, making the cut each time with finishes of 71-21-6. The 6th was on debut and although last year was disappointing the 6th and 21st prove he has the game to compete here and given his performance last week I am happy to chance he will break the top-20 again.
At $7,400 a top-20 finish is acceptable but he has the potential to break into the top-10 as well.
When he came 6th here back in 2013 he had missed the cut the week before in the Madeira Islands Open and a year later he finished T24 in Spain before finishing T21 here so given his effort last week, he looks set for another good showing in his homeland.
Marc Warren ($7,200) – Joining Bello and Morrison on the betting plan this week is Scotsman, Warren who absolutely loves this course and finally showed some positive signs last week.
He finished T23 last week in Ireland, but it could have been a whole lot better had it of not been for a frustrating round of 78 on the Saturday.
Warren has been fairly poor all season, making just 4/10 cuts and finishing in the top-20 just once but if he is going to kick-start his season anywhere, this week may just be his best chance of doing so.
In nine appearances here he has missed the cut once and withdrawn once, but the other seven efforts have all been inside the top-30 including the last four straight.
His last four efforts are 18-16-2-27 and I fully expect him to produce a similar finish this week.
That 2nd was a play-off loss to Matteo Manassero back in 2013 and he will still be looking for redemption.
I am confident of a top-20 but also think he has the potential to not only finish in the top-10 but also win, meaning he is probably my favourite value pick of the week in fantasy.
Honourable mentions: Miguel Jimenez ($7,000) & Alexander Levy ($7,100)
Good upside ($6,700 and below):
Alejandro Canizares ($6,500) – In nine appearances, the Spaniard has three top-10s and a 20th place finish here against three missed cuts and couple of other mediocre finishes.
He has made his last five straight cuts and missed just two on the year and the 2-time European Tour winner looks good value this week.
His best form came in the desert when he finished 5-27-8 in the three desert swing events but two top-15’s in his last four starts prove he is still playing well and there is no reason why he cannot replicate the 10th place finish he posted last year or even the 4th place three years ago.
Matteo Manassero ($6,100) – Manassero has been pretty poor for a long time now and has only really been in contention on two occasions since winning here in 2013 but he does like this course and after showing some glimpses in recent weeks, he could sneak a top-20 or better here.
In six starts at Wentworth Manassero’s form figures are 48-MC-1-43-7-17. Now obviously he has the missed cut but that was including the added pressure of being defending champion and even when he was out of sorts last season he still managed to make the cut and finish inside the top-50.
He has two top-24 finishes in his last five starts so he slowly looks like he is sneaking back into some sort of form and with low expectations and a bit of confidence back he may well surprise a few this week.
Honourable mentions: Felipe Aguilar ($6,100)