BMW Players Championship review by Fairweather Golf, Camberley.
Alex Noren will defend his BMW PGA Championship title when he tees it up at the prestigious Surrey venue this week. The Swede was tied 21st on one under par going into the final round last year, but a stunning closing round of 62 – ten under par and a new course record– catapulted him into an unassailable lead.
He finished two shots clear of second placed Francesco Molinari, helped by a fine eagle on the 72nd hole to reach 11 under par. The 35 year old will now bid to become the first player to defend a Rolex Series title when he returns to the famous West Course at Wentworth.
The BMW PGA Championship once again marks the beginning of the Rolex Series – the eight premium events on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai. Last year’s Championship was the first-ever Rolex Series event, a premium category of tournaments on the Race to Dubai, each with a minimum prize fund of US$7million.
The Rolex Series culminates in the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai at Jumeirah Golf Estates, where Englishman Tommy Fleetwood was crowned Race to Dubai champion in 2017.
Following his Masters Tournament triumph last month, American Patrick Reed currently leads the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex with 2,216,000 points, followed by two-time European Tour winner Shubhankar Sharma.
The United Kingdom will be well-represented at this week’s tournament, spearheaded by World Number Eight Rory McIlroy and 2017 Race to Dubai winner Tommy Fleetwood.
McIlroy will make his first appearance at Wentworth Club since the 2015 Championship. The 2014 winner was forced to miss last year’s event due to a recurrence of a rib injury and will take on the revamped West Course for the first time.
Joining the Northern Irishman and Fleetwood will be World Number 12 Paul Casey, who won the Valspar Championship on the US PGA Tour in March, 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett, Tyrrell Hatton, Matthew Fitzpatrick and 2016 BMW PGA Championship winner Chris Wood.
The quintet of Englishmen will tee it up alongside England’s two most recent European Tour winners, Matt Wallace and Eddie Pepperell, while Andy Sullivan, Ryder Cup veteran Ian Poulter and fan-favourite Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston will also be in the field.