The European Tour's longstanding flagship event is famous for producing numerous historic upsets. Paul Krishnamurty searches for another, recommending three picks along with some alternatives...
"Wentworth is also a track where certain rank outsiders repeatedly fare well. Khan nearly pulled off a double-shock in 2013, while Thomas Aiken has been top-seven in two of the last four renewals. With five top-25s in nine visits, including seventh in 2016, Zanotti also belongs into this latter category."
Back Fabrizio Zanotti 2u @ [310.0]
In complete contrast to last week's events, which inevitably involved making educated guesses, we have decades of course form to study at both the BMW PGA Championship and Fort Worth Invitational. The evidence from Wentworth and Colonial is clear - if you're looking for outsiders, the European Tour event offers much greater potential.
There are numerous course specialists near the head of the market in Texas - Jordan Spieth made the top-five in the last three renewals, Webb Simpson in the last two. Zach Johnson has two wins and five top-nine finishes to his name here. If that trio contend again as expected, there will be precious little room near the head of the in-play market for outsiders.
Not surprisingly plenty of world class characters have also won the European Tour's flagship event, but the trends are very different. Wentworth has been the scene of some of the biggest golfing shocks of the 21st century with Simon Khan, Scott Drummond, Ignacio Garrido and Andrew Oldcorn winning from early odds well in excess of [300.0]. Matteo Manassero and Byeong Hun An were more gettable but still well within our triple-figure price range. Last year's 54-hole leader Andrew Dodt was a [220.0] chance.
There are numerous rock-solid indicators to consider. Past course form is fundamentally important as evidenced by seven different repeat winners since 1980. British players do exceptionally well here. Driving accuracy and greens in regulation are predictably important around a tree-lined course, along with scrambling, for which all of last year's top-five ranked eighth or better. For a comprehensive overview and some interesting in-running trends, check out Steve Rawlings' tournament preview.
In-form Hebert has the long game for Wentworth
First these are big-odds about somebody who finished second on his last start, hitting 83% of greens in regulation and winning five head-to-head matches over the weekend. Those long game numbers aren't out of the norm either - he's hit fewer than 67% of gir only once this year and ranks tenth for total driving.
That is exactly what is required at Wentworth and, over the long-term, the Frenchman is expected to improve on a forgettable course record to date. Four visits is not many around a course where experience is priceless and 12th place two years ago was in any case promising.
Gallacher the pick of the British outsiders
One of Hebert's weekend victims also ticks plenty of boxes. Gallacher is precisely the type of high-class Brit for this event and he's shown a liking with top-25s on three of his last seven visits, twice finishing top-five.
The former Ryder Cup star is another whose form off the tee merits close consideration. He ranks fourth for total driving among these in 2018 and a 71% greens in regulation average also bodes well for Wentworth.
Zanotti's course record warrants close inspection
Naturally, the principal course specialists are near the head of the market but Wentworth is also a track where certain rank outsiders repeatedly fare well. Khan nearly pulled off a double-shock in 2013, while Thomas Aiken has been top-seven in two of the last four renewals. With five top-25s in nine visits, including seventh in 2016, Zanotti also belongs into this latter category.
The Paraguayan owes that relative success largely to accurate driving and scrambling - the perfect Wentworth combo. That has still been mostly evident in an ordinary campaign to date, which does include top-tens in Abu Dhabi and Oman. He hasn't played for a month so hopefully has found some form in practice.
In an event of this stature, with so much quality at the top of the market, there are always dozens of eyecatching bets at huge odds on the exchange. For example Joe Dyer and Steve Rawlings put up Hideto Tanihara and Max Kieffer at 90/1 and 200/1 respectively in our each-way column but, if you prefer win only, roughly double the odds are available. The German is my first reserve at around [350.0]
Rather annoyingly, my long-range fancy for this tournament Alex Bjork has found a rich vein of form and is outside our range at [80.0] compared to what would have probably been [250.0] if this had been played a month ago. Others on my shortlist include former champion and course specialist Chris Wood at [130.0] plus the aforementioned Thomas Aiken at [280.0]. And finally while Jason Scrivener's two previous appearances offered no encouragement whatsoever, I just can't justify the Aussie trading at [750.0] on a tough course that should, in theory, suit.
Back Stephen Gallacher 2u @ [280.0]
Place order to lay 10u @ [25.0]
Place order to lay 10u @ [15.0]
Place order to lay 20u @ [4.0]
Back Fabrizio Zanotti 2u @ [310.0]
Place order to lay 10u @ [30.0]
Place order to lay 15u @ [10.0]