The opening round of the BMW PGA Championship takes place at the West Course at Wentworth on Thursday when a star studded field takes to the track for the first time in the biggest event of the season on the DP World Tour.
The best field of the season are playing for one of the biggest purses of the season and with so many stories to focus on over the course of the week, we should be treated to a wonderful opening round of the tournament.
First Round Leader
Whenever we bet on the individual rounds in a tournament the first market we look at is the first round leader one. Whenever you look at this market you have to know the format of the day first and in the BMW PGA Championship everyone goes off the first tee and there is no morning or afternoon wave, it is a continuous stream of tee times every 10 minutes. Then we need to check the weather and there is no change throughout the course of the day with the exception of it being a little warmer later in the day so there looks to be no tee time bias on Thursday.
That dampens my enthusiasm for getting involved in this market. It is very rare that we get a solo 18-hole leader around here which naturally puts me off getting too involved in it but I have a little more intent if we can separate some of the field out. With that not being the case this year I’d be looking to extreme value to get involved in this market and I’m not really seeing it. Those who I do think could be a decent price I’m already on outright so I’ve no real desire to dabble in this market this year.
Thursday 3 Balls
As in any full field tournament the opening round sees the players going out in groups of three. Everyone is off of the first tee in this tournament and looking to take advantage of a couple of early good scoring holes before the test gets a lot tougher. There are some standout groups taking to the golf course on Thursday. The pick of them is the Ryder Cup trio of Rory McIlroy, Ludvig Aberg and Viktor Hovland who go out at 08.40 BST while Adam Scott, Tom Kim and Billy Horschel go out 10 minutes after them with Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry and Sepp Straka in the 09.00 BST group. In the afternoon the leading groups are the 12.40 BST group of Jon Rahm, Nicolai Hojgaard and Tyrrell Hatton while three more Ryder Cup teammates go off 10 minutes after them with Justin Rose, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Robert MacIntyre out together. At 13.00 BST Ryan Fox, Min Woo Lee and Pablo Larrazabal grace the first tee. Having looked through the odds I like two bets away from the main groups.
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Nicolai von Dellingshausen/Tapio Pulkkanen/Fabrizio Zanotti
Match tees off at 11.15 BST
Towards the end of the morning the first bet I like comes in the group which contains the German player Nicolai van Dellingshausen who will tee it up alongside Tapio Pulkkanen and the Paraguayan golfer Fabrizio Zanotti.
It is the South American that I like here. Von Dellingshausen is playing here for just the second time and this is one of those places where course experience is pretty important so I’m happy to take the German out of the proposition. Pulkkanen has been here a few times and to his credit he has shot a few under par first rounds but has never broken 70 in the opening 18 holes. Zanotti has broken 70 in the first round on three occasions and is currently on a streak of five straight first rounds here where he has shot under par including a 66 last year. With neither the German or the Finn in great form, unlike Zanotti who was fourth in the Czech Masters last month and opened up September with a top 25 in Switzerland, I think the Paraguayan is the one to be on here.
Marcel Siem/Dan Bradbury/Rafa Cabrera Bello
Match tees off at 13.20 BST
We head towards the end of the tee times for the second bet of the day where three players with DP World Tour wins to their name go out alongside each other when Marcel Siem is grouped with Dan Bradbury and Rafa Cabrera Bello.
When assessing the opening round I think course form or experience is key. This is a track that you get to know the ins and outs of, especially the early holes, and so Bradbury being on debut here may be disadvantaged against two seasoned Wentworth campaigners. Of the other two it is Cabrera Bello that I like. His issues tend to come at the end of the week as a rule not the start of it and he has opening rounds of 65, a pair of 68s and a 69 in this tournament and has broken par in four of the last five first rounds here with a 72 on the other occasion. Siem has played here on 15 previous occasions and never bettered 69 in the opening round and is on a run of first 18 holes of 75-69-74-71-74-76 in his last six starts. He doesn’t seem to come out of the blocks as quickly as he should do so if the Spaniard keeps it together around the turn I think he’s a big price to win this three ball.
Back F.Zanotti to beat N.von Dellingshausen & T.Pulkkanen for a 3/10 stake at 2.10 with 888sport
Back him here:
Back R.Cabrera Bello to beat M.Siem & D.Bradbury for a 3/10 stake at 3.30 with Coral