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European Tour preview: BMW PGA Championship

Preview – European Tour – BMW PGA Championship – Wentworth Club – Surrey, England —  

Twelve of the Top 30 in the Official World Golf Rankings tee it up this week at the European Tour’s BMW PGA Championship in England.

The par-71 layout at Wentworth Club measures more than 7,200 yards and should provide a strong challenge for the game’s best players. Many on the European Tour consider this event the 5th major bringing out a strong field including a number of past major champions including THE PLAYERS champion Martin Kaymer, Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald, Ernie Els, Ben Curtis, Charl Schwartzel, Graeme McDowell, Retief Goosen and Paul Lawrie.

World No. 3 Henrik Stenson – the current FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai champion – has a track to the world’s top ranking with a solid performance this week. Top-ranked Adam Scott is not here, while he competes at the PGA Tour’s Crowne Plaza Championship.

The tour’s Race To Dubai standings reaches week 24 of 48 this week. At the half-way point, Thomas Bjorn leads the standings followed by Jamie Donaldson, Louis Oosthuizen, Sergio Garcia and Miguel Angel Jimenez.

All expect for Oosthuizen are competing here this week including Jimenez, fresh off his playoff victory at the Open de Espana last week.

Look for Rory to have a solid showing. On the other side of the ocean, he leads the PGA Tour in back-nine scoring average (34.61). Sergio ranks fourth in that same category.

2013 Results:

  • Matteo Manassero (10-under) won the title in a three-man playoff. He closed the deal on the fourth playoff hole against Simon Khan and Marc Warren. Jimenez and Alejandro Canizares were T-4 one shot back. Els, Francesco Molinari and Westwood logged Top 10s.

FANTASY: Take Donald at Wentworth. He has a victory here just two years and finished runner-up earlier this season the PGA Tour at the RBC Heritage. Westwood comes into the event riding a solid effort at The Masters and a Top 10 here last year. Jimenez continues to deny his age, 50. He is 5th in the Race to Dubai standings. Donaldson, second in the Race to Dubai standings, is now 30th in the world rankings. Expect a solid week from him.

BETTORS: McIlroy is the top betting selection at Ladbrokes.com at 12-to-1 odds. Donald, a recent past champion here, is 14-1 alongside Westwood and Rose.  For a longer shot, take Harrington at 80-1. He was in the mix last week in America. Alvaro Quiros (66-1) has been flashing up on leader boards of late. At his odds, he’s worth a wager.

Other Golf News:

  • Scott headlines the field at the PGA Tour’s Crowne Plaza Championship at Colonial Country Club in Texas. But, Matt Kuchar is the betting favorite at 12-1 odd. The World No. 4 has nine Top 10s on tour this season including a victory and several near misses at winning.
  • Lucy Li, at 11 years old, will become the youngest to compete to the U.S. Women’s Open next month. Li qualified by winning at sectionals in California shooting 74-68 to win by seven shots.
  • Six of the Top 12 players in the Rolex Rankings are Americans. Last summer at the Solheim Cup, only one U.S.-born player was in the Top 10. Americans have won four of the last five LPGA Tour tournaments.
  • Rolex Ranking No. 1 Inbee Park and second-ranked Stacy Lewis headline the field this week at the Airbus LPGA Classic in Alabama. Lewis is the betting favorite at 5-1.