BMW PGA Championship: The 20/1 Ryder Cup wannabe who needs the points at Wentworth

The dual Major winner can motor into contention for Darren Clarke's side this week


Some of Europe’s A-list golfers join a lot of C-list celebrities in today’s Pro-Am ahead of Thursday’s tee-off in this week’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

Paddy’s paying the first seven places and has launched a new Top 30 market for players who are consistently on the premises come Sunday – but go all squeaky bum-like when the oversized cheque hovers into view.  Yes Gregory Bourdy we’re looking at you.

With no Irish Open champ Rory McIlroy to contend with and Sergio Garcia still celebrating his first win Stateside in four years, there are plenty of sterling and points to be snaffled by Ryder Cup wannabes on the fringes of automatic qualification.

And a few of them are among the 7 players you’re backing at noon on Wednesday.

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Rafael Cabrera-Bello

Birthday boy RCB has attracted a lot of love from punters in recent weeks and narrowly missed out on a top 7 place at The Irish Open last weekend with four days of consistent golf.

Dropping three shots at the final two holes on moving day didn’t help when gliding into a share of second place but four missed cuts in seven attempts means he needs to bring his A-game if he wants to right that wrong this week.

The Spaniard lies fifth in the European Ryder Cup Rankings but winning a prestigious tournie like this would cement his place alongside Sergio at Hazeltine in September.

Shane Lowry

Was a major plunge for the Irish Open at the K Club last week but after a promising opening day, he quickly turned into an also-ran.

Lowry chased Rory McIlroy down the stretch here in 2014 – his third top 5 finish in six attempts at the Surrey track and will be keen to go low again this week at a course where he has his eye in.

Should probably benefit from not having half of Ireland on his case around the fairways as he looks to registers his first European Tour win since the Portugal Masters since 2012.

Tyrrell Hatton

The 24-year-old has been progressing nicely through the gears this season with his T5 in Ireland last weekend his fourth Top 15 finish in six tournaments on the European Tour.

Hatton started the year by finishing T8 in a deep-looking Omega Dubai Desert Classic (won by Willett, McIlroy & Stenson on the premises) and has been consistent since – despite a limited roster of tournaments.

Has yet to pop his cherry on the European Tour but went close in 2014 when finishing second to George Coetzee at the Jo’burg Open.

Was inspired to become a pro golfer when watching this tournament as a kid growing up in Marlow just 30 minutes from Wentworth. With the graph pointing in the right direction – he might just make those dreams come true on his third start in the BMW PGA Championship if playing with Tim Sherwood in the Pro-Am hasn’t left its mark.

Martin Kaymer

While not quite persona non grata Stateside since losing his US Tour card, the dual Major winner will have to make do with sponsors’ exemptions and the less sexy European Tour to scramble a few quid together for a Ryder Cup place.

But the German has finished T6 (Open de Espana) and T5 (Irish Open) in his last two and signed off at the K Club with the joint-lowest score of the week (65).

With only one missed cut in nine attempts, Kaymer looks well placed to build on his five Top 20 finishes over course and distance.

The major motivators of a big pay day and a place on Darren Clarke’s Ryder Cup team (currently sits 18th in the standings) should be enough to see the German put in a shift this week on a course he’s not mad about but a tournament he is.

Francesco Molinari

The Italian led into the final round of this tournie last year before having to settle for T5 behind defending champ An Byeong-Hun. Molinari has been showing signs of life recently with a T7 at Sawgrass backing up an earlier T9 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

A former Ryder Cup winner, the 33-year-old has proven a decent course-form pony at the Wentworth track where he has posted four successive Top 10 finishes.

Certainly has his eye-in at the track but hasn’t got his head in front since the Open de Espana in 2012.

Lee Westwood

A late rattle by the consistent Westwood saw him finish T10- at the K Club on his first run back since chasing home Danny Willett at the Masters. The patriotic Westwood has dutifully turned up at the last 12 events and hasn’t had a free weekend here in his last six visits – three of which yielded top 10 finishes.

With five of the last 10 events won by an Englishman, the crowd favourite can depend on plenty of support from the galleries and could give them plenty to shout about even if Father Time is against him.

Danny Willett

His Irish Open challenge fell flatter than Louis van Gaal’s FA Cup celebrations when bombing out on day four at the K Club, after looking the only one who would give Rory McIlroy a game of it over the opening rounds.

That was just the 28-year-old’s sixth round of golf since winning the Masters and he can be expected to get back in the groove again after shaking off the rust.

A fifth-place finish on debut in 2010 is Willett’s best performance at this course but he has to live up to certain expectations now he’s a Major winner. Will want to get back on the winner’s podium again asap ahead of the US Open in a month’s time.

What do you think?