BMW PGA Championship: Molinari a must bet

Francesco Molinari has posted four straight top 10s at Wentworth
Francesco Molinari has posted four straight top 10s at Wentworth

Dave Tindall arms you with the stats that matter for a punt on the Top 5 and Top 10 Finish markets ahead of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth...

"Getting a shade under 2/1 for yet another Molinari Top 10 at Wentworth looks decent business."

Back Francesco Molinari for Top 10 @ 2.982/1

Danny Willett

It's no surprise that the new Masters champion picks up on reminders of his finest hour wherever he goes. Talking of his arrival at Wentworth this week, he said: "We got to come in the front entrance this morning which was nice. And the resemblance of Magnolia Lane, driving down, the flowers are budding and the sun is shining; life's pretty good." It certainly is, although golf's newest major champion has a couple of things to put right. He went from halfway leader and second place after 54 holes to T23 in Ireland after a closing 77 on Sunday while he hasn't made the top 30 here since a hugely promising fifth place on debut in 2010. With the new baby "shipped off to grandma", Willett should get some good sleep and as the only player in the world's top 20 taking part this week it's fair to expect a big challenge from a man who loves big events (winner of Masters and Dubai Desert Classic and T3 at the WGC-Cadillac already this season).

Last four events: 23-MC-1-28
Course form: 38-63-32-43-MC-5
England form: 46-38-MC-63-32-43-MC-MC
Last 50 starts - Win: 8%, Top 5: 28%, Top 10: 36%


Shane Lowry

Lowry couldn't be more gushing in his praise for this week's course and tournament. "It's just somewhere that I love playing, since the first time I came here in 2010, I loved it from the word go. Just something about the place. I love playing the big events and this is obviously our biggest one. It's one of my favourite golf courses of the year and it's one that I kind of look forward to coming back every year." And he has good reason to with some superb course form highlighted by a second to Rory McIlroy in 2014. After T16 at Sawgrass and T23 at the Irish Open in the last two weeks, Lowry says "I feel like I'm getting there" although he is still getting used to a new driver in his bag. All said, his course record suggests he'll be in the mix again at Wentworth.

Last four events: 23-16-MC-39
Course form: 6-2-12-68-4-65
England form: 2-6-9-9-2-12-68-4
Last 50 starts - Win: 2%, Top 5: 10%, Top 10: 26%


Russell Knox

Just in case anyone was thinking the Scot was a one-hit wonder after making the WGC-HSBC Champions his first victory last November, he's come out of a flat patch with second places in two of his last three starts (Heritage and Irish Open) and a T19 at Sawgrass which would have been another top 10 but for a calamitous 9 at the 17th on Saturday. Despite losing out to Rory at the K Club, Knox said: "I played brilliant to be honest. I had loads of chances. All joy, all joy. I shot 75 the first day and finished tied second. The putter was just kind of so-so. But overall, what a week. I'm thrilled with the way I performed." This is his first look at Wentworth but Knox will be aware that Byeong-Hun An won this event on debut so it is possible to thrive straight away.

Last four events: 2-19-2-MC
Course form: Debut
England form: Debut
Last 50 starts - Win: 2%, Top 5: 12%, Top 10: 16%


Francesco Molinari

"I love this place. I think it rewards accuracy more than others, so it suits my game. I think you need to be in control of the ball flight as much as you can all the time with the wind swirling around in the trees and obviously the deep bunkers put more emphasis on accuracy off the tee. I just enjoy playing around here, I always have, and hopefully I always will. Just in general, I come here every year and just enjoy the week and have fun." He certainly does and although Molinari missed an obvious victory chance last year due to a poor final round, his fifth place still gave him a fourth straight top 10 in this event. With T7 at Sawgrass and T17 at Quail Hollow on his last two starts, the reliable Italian looks ideal material for a back in the Top 10 market.

Last four events: 7-17-42-45
Course form: 5-7-9-7-50-17-35-MC-30-MC
England form: 38-5-13-15-7-9-39-7-MC-50
Last 50 starts - Win: 0%, Top 5: 8%, Top 10: 18%


Martin Kaymer

The German has finished T6 (Valderrama) and T5 (K Club) in his last two European Tour starts and ended with a 65 in Ireland last Sunday. Talking of that hot closing lap, he said: "I just putted a little bit better. I saw the good score coming. It was just not showing on the scorecard. Fortunately today, great momentum going into Wentworth next week." Kaymer has never managed a top 10 at the BMW PGA Championship but that's not to say he can't do well there. T18 last year and T12 in 2014, he owns three other top 16s. Twice a winner in Scotland, Kaymer loves playing in the UK and, in his current form, a big week could be on the horizon.

Last four events: 5-39-41-6
Course form: 18-12-50-15-31-MC-11-16-30
England form: 18-70-12-50-MC-15-12-31
Last 50 starts - Win: 0%, Top 5: 12%, Top 10: 22%


Rafael Cabrera-Bello

"I've been playing the best golf of my life throughout this year," said RCB in Houston and it's shown in his results which have taken a dramatic leap forward. After a pair of second places on the Desert Swing, he then took that hot form to America and, in four starts, finished 11th in the WGC-Cadillac, third at the WGC-Dell Match Play, fourth in Houston and T17 at The Masters. Back in Europe he's posted T16 at Valderrrama and T8 in last week's Irish Open. He's missed more cuts (4) at Wentworth that he's made (3) but he does have three top 20s and opened two years ago with a 65. It would come as no surprise if he's pushing for a top 10 or even a top 5 this week.

Last four events: 8-MC-16-17
Course form: MC-16-MC-15-MC-17-MC
England form: MC-MC-MC-16-MC-81-15-MC
Last 50 starts - Win: 0%, Top 5: 14%, Top 10: 22%


Byeong-Hun An

"It was definitely life-changing. It got me into a lot of events and boosted my confidence that I could compete," said the Korean when looking back to last year's incredible six-shot victory on his first ever start at Wentworth. "I just remember every single shot I hit on Sunday. I remember where my ball was and how I struck it. The memories are very clear." It could be a case of how does he follow that and maybe the magic will desert him this time but, then again, don't be surprised if he's up there again. Predicting how he'll perform this week is made even harder by recent form. He's missed three of his last four cuts but in that spell he finished runner-up in New Orleans after losing a play-off.

Last four events: MC-MC-2-MC
Course form: 1
England form: MC-1-26-MC
Last 50 starts - Win: 4%, Top 5: 28%, Top 10: 36%


Luke Donald

"I would love to get back in that winner's circle and Wentworth would be the perfect place to do that," says Donald in his blog for the European Tour website. "You always have a good feeling when you go back to somewhere you've done well at in the past. It is close to home for me, not too far down the road from where I grew up in High Wycombe, and I always have a lot of support. My game is starting to get back to where I want it to be. I would love to make the Ryder Cup team." With wins in 2011 and 2012, the former taking him to World No.1, a second (2010), two top threes (2008 and 2014) and a further top 10 he has to be given huge respect this week. A second place at Hilton Head, another course where he's thrived, could be a good pointer too.

Last four events: MC-71-13-2
Course form: 38-3-MC-1-1-2-35-3-7-5-25-5-18
England form: 5-38-64-3-MC-5-1-MC-1
Last 50 starts - Win: 0%, Top 5: 6%, Top 10: 12%


Lee Westwood

"It's somewhere where I love coming back to. The crowds really get behind the home players this week. Shows how old I'm getting I guess. I've played more times (22) than some of the other players have been on the planet!" A play-off loss to Luke Donald in 2011 remains his closest brush with victory while Westwood was also runner-up in 2000. The latest of three other top 10s came in 2013. As well as having plenty of positive course experience, the other big plus is his recent form. A closing 69 hoisted him up to T2 at Augusta National and he followed that with T10 in last week's Irish Masters. Talking of his K Club result, the Englishman said: "I feel like my game is in good shape, and tenth was probably about the worst I could have done last week."

Last four events: 10-2-MC-38
Course form: 38-35-9-33-2-10-MC-WD-12-MC-27-2
England form: 17-38-MC-35-9-45-33-MC-2
Last 50 starts - Win: 4%, Top 5: 10%, Top 10: 20%


Joost Luiten

"I made some good up and downs to save par," said Luiten after a bogey-free 67 in R3 at Wentworth two years ago. "I think that's what you need to do on this course. You're going to miss greens and you're going to be in bunkers and then you have to have a good short game to save par and that's what I did today." The Dutchman finished T12 that year and shot another pair of 67s last year when T11 so it's a course he can score well on. It all went wrong for him in Ireland last week (75-80) but only last month he registered consecutive runners-up finishes at the Open de Espana and the Shenzhen International. He has six top 10s already this season so backers have been well rewarded.

Last four events: MC-44-2-2
Course form: 11-12-MC-MC-MC-17
England form: 33-11-3-MC-12-MC-45-MC-63-MC
Last 50 starts - Win: 2%, Top 5: 18%, Top 10: 24%


Conclusion

This isn't the strongest renewal of the BMW PGA Championship so I see no reason why Francesco Molinari shouldn't take up what is now his obligatory place in the top 10.

He's occupied that slot for the last four years and comes into the event in strong form again.

Getting a shade under 2/1 for another Molinari Top 10 at Wentworth looks decent business.

There are some other obvious candidates such as Shane Lowry and Luke Donald but, at the prices, I'll also play Lee Westwood for a top 10.

Runner-up at Augusta and T10 in Ireland last week on his two latest starts, Westwood looks rejuvenated and has lots of good course form at Wentworth.

He's nearly 7/2 to crack the top 10 again here and that's something he's managed in three of the last six years at the European Tour's flagship event.


Recommended Bets

Back Francesco Molinari for Top 10 @ 2.982/1
Back Lee Westwood for Top 10 @ 4.47/2


Dave's 2016 P/L (based on £10 per selection)

Staked: £140
P/L: +£13.50

(After The Players Championship)

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