Golf: Shane Lowry worth a shot at BMW PGA Championship

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September 18th, 2019

The BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club near London was moved to September from May because of changes on the golf schedule, particularly to the major championships. Since the PGA Championship in the United States was moved back to May, that left the European Tour with the option of pushing this flagship event, formerly known as the British PGA, to September.

Wentworth draws top Europeans and notable Americans

Most top European players will naturally show up for this prestigious event, but it also has lured several American players who haven't normally appeared here, most notably Tony Finau and Billy Horschel. Fellow American Patrick Reed was given an honorary European Tour life membership with his win the 2018 Masters and plays in Europe fairly regularly, but this week's tournament is his debut in the BMW PGA Championship.

The Wentworth West Course originally was designed by the legendary Harry Colt, whose work can also be seen at such historic venues as Muirfield, Royal Liverpool and Royal Portrush, all of which are on the Open Championship rotation.

Wentworth underwent changes a little more than a decade ago, with a redesign from four-time major championship winner Ernie Els, who has a home on the grounds. The course, which plays at 7,284 yards, finishes with back-to-back par 5s. Baltusrol's Lower Course in New Jersey is about the only other world-class course I can think of that has this feature, and there is no doubt this tournament will feature drama toward the end.

Finding value

One player who may provide some value at +2800 is Matt Wallace. The 29-year-old Englishman displayed good form just the other day, when he placed third in the KLM Open in Amsterdam, and showed some promise over the Wentworth venue in 2018, when he tied for 20th. There isn't as much of a track record for Wallace on this course as some other players, but he has proven up to the challenge in more prestigious tests, including a strong third at Bethpage in the U.S.'s PGA Championship and a tie for 12th at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. I'll consider him for each-way wagers, as well.
Rory McIlroy in 2014 and Francesco Molinari last year accomplished the BMW PGA/Open Championship double, a feat Shane Lowry hopes to achieve this time around. Lowry's attempt, however, will be in the reverse. He showed little in two stateside FedEx Cup playoff events at Liberty National and Medinah, but his track record at Wentworth makes him hard to ignore. He hasn't won at Wentworth but possesses a trio of top 10 finishes, including a second behind McIlroy. I will give Lowry a shot at +2800 for the top score and consider him for each-way betting.

McIlroy is the deserving favorite at +550, but he'll offer little to no value and has a strange record in this tournament. He has won it once and has a second-place finish but has three missed cuts. Go figure.

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