Course form is key at Wentworth, as underlined by the last four winners, each of whom had been in the thick of things here in the past. That’s why Shane Lowry’s outstanding course record deserves more respect than it is being shown, his seven top-15 finishes in 10 appearances demonstrating that he plays the Burma Road better than anyone in this field.
The reason he was largely ignored when markets went up (bigger price than 2019, when Rahm and McIlroy played) is a missed cut in Ireland, but he was exhausted and still struck the ball as well as he has in ages. He has a huge chance.
Thomas Pieters is another who has been in the mix here, having led at halfway in 2017 having also played well in 2016. Last year he also played well, dispelling the myth that he needs width off the tee to be at his best, and he’s massively improved since.
Last week’s missed cut in Scotland can be written off – he was stitched up by the draw and still hit it well enough – and prior to it he’d been in the thick of things at the US Open. Fresher than most and buoyed by parenthood, this huge talent looks a big player with rain around to soften up the course.
Although a little lacking in Wentworth experience, there’s otherwise a lot to like about the case for Robert MacIntyre. He demonstrated his ambition by changing caddies prior to the Scottish Open, dumping a good friend, and was rewarded immediately by his best finish since January.
Quality ball-striking powered his move through the field and it was also a feature of his top-30 finish here on debut, which came after a heartbreaking near-miss in Germany. He’s timed things ideally for his return and will love this course in time.
It’s rare for anyone to win here on their first visit, but Adri Arnaus is sufficiently talented to follow in the footsteps of Ben An and do just that. The putter is the only thing holding back the career of this hugely talented Spaniard, who boasts a long-game good enough to earn him a PGA Tour card in time.
For now he’s seeking a first European Tour win and it could come in elite company, at a course softened by rain which makes his driving even more of an asset. He’s been an eye-catcher lately.
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