The best prop bets for the 2021 BMW PGA Championship
Patrick Cantlay’s win in the FedEx Cup not only pocketed him $15 million. It also brought the curtain down on another thrilling PGA Tour season.
But the golf does not stop there. It gives us a wonderful opportunity to head to Wentworth Club in England, one of Europe’s most iconic courses and the birthplace of the Ryder Cup, for the BMW PGA Championship.
Wentworth isn’t a course for the rich. It’s for the filthy rich. Owned by Chinese billionaires since a takeover in 2015, the course is now home to just 888 members — 888 is a lucky number in Asia — and joining will initially cost you £150k ($206,790), before annual fees of £14k ($19,300). But in this part of the world, that’s pocket money.
The course is the central hub of Wentworth estate, a 700-hectare community of about 800 villas. The villas snake through the course, and there’s every chance a wayward tee-shot will end up in a millionaire’s front garden.
Wentworth is a narrow, tree-lined course, with greens that play hard and fast. Scrambling is key and will be a leading factor this week. Players also need to find greens in regulation if they want to contend at the top. Course experience is a huge positive and good form at the course is even better.
Let's dive into some prop bets and find some money-making opportunities.
BMW PGA Championship 2021
Sun, September 12 2021, 3:00 PM
Top 30 finish: Aaron Rai (+138)
Dig a little under the surface and Aaron Rai has a nice bit of course form to offer. He missed the cut at Wentworth on debut, but I’m happy to forgive him, as he finished 26th there in 2019. Last year, he was in the top 10 after a first-round 68 but just missed the cut, after a Friday disaster.
There were mitigating circumstances on that day, as the event came after a roller-coaster fortnight for the 25-year-old, who finished runner-up in the Irish Open and then won the Scottish Open. Those excursions took their toll.
Rai has flashed some brilliant golf in big events this year. He came in 19th in the Open Championship and 26th in the WGC-St. Jude Invitational.
He has consistently outperformed his competitors when it comes to accuracy off the tee and greens in regulation, and those qualities should help propel him to a good finish. He just won his PGA Tour card for next season, so expect confidence to be high.
Matchbet: Branden Grace to beat Adam Scott (-110)
It’s been a solid year of golf for South African Branden Grace, and now he'll play at one of his favorite spots.
He has said the course suits his eye, and the stats back it up. In the last five years, he has posted three finishes of 11th or better, and that’s the kind of course form I’m happy to side with.
Grace ranks inside the top 35 on the PGA Tour in shots gained around the green, which goes some way to hint why he gets on so well at Wentworth.
He is a solid putter and he enters off a good season. He won the Puerto Rico Open in February, and in the last three months, he finished in the top 10 at the Memorial Tournament, the U.S. Open, and the Wyndham Championship.
Scott posted just his second top 10 finish of the year with a runner-up effort in the Wyndham Championship, but he then missed the cut at the Northern Trust and will make his debut at Wentworth.
A lack of course form and bumpy end to the season means I’m happy to side with Grace.
Top French player: Victor Perez (+300)
Golf fans stateside who don’t see much of the European Tour may be surprised to see Perez’s name. In his recent trips on to the big stage, he’s missed the cut at the Open Championship, the U.S. Open, Memorial, the PGA Championship, and the Masters.
But don’t let that take away from the fact he is more than capable on the European Tour and finished second on debut at Wentworth last year. That course form, combined with some key stats (he ranks second on the European Tour for greens in regulation this year and fifth in shots gained approaching the green), means Perez has plenty going for him.
Recent form in the second half of this year is the real danger, but he bagged a top 20 finish at both the Cazoo Classic and the Italian Open in his last few events, so hopefully he can build on that at a course he likes.
Top 40 finish: Shubhankar Sharma (+138)
Sharma is a massive price in the outright betting for this event, but a trip into the top 40 seems like a sensible play.
Sharma has finished in the top 40 in five of his last six events on the European Tour — including a top 10 finish in the Cazoo Classic — and enters off the back of a 12th at the Italian Open. That was a storming finish, considering after round one he was 115th, after a round of 75.
Course form again led us to the Indian, who didn’t pull up trees last year but still finished 48th. In 2019, he was third when he went to sleep Saturday night, only to drop to 17th on the final day.
That’s a big positive, as is his ability to hole important putts. Sharma is a solid bet to make the top 40 again.