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Debutant and familiar foe all set for Wentworth

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There will be a debutant and a seasoned pro on show at the BMW PGA Championship next week as a total of 12 PGA Professionals prepare to do battle at the new-look Wentworth course in Surrey.

Paul Hendriksen is gearing up for what will be the biggest event of his career so far as he counts down towards his first ever appearance in Europe’s flagship event.

The 37-year-old is a PGA Professional based at the beautiful Ivybridge Golf Club in Devon and will be teeing off next Thursday with nothing to lose.

Sharing the fairways and greens with some of the world’s finest golfers, including Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose, could be a daunting task for some, but that does not faze Hendriksen who is looking forward to mixing it with the very best.

“There are a lot of big names playing at Wentworth but I’m not worrying about that,” said Hendriksen.

“It will be great to pit myself against them and see how I get on, but I’m unlikely to get drawn against any of them unless I make it to Saturday.

“I have played in front of big crowds before so I’m looking forward to playing in front of another big crowd at Wentworth.”

Back in February this year Hendriksen won the prestigious PGAs of Europe Fourball Championship alongside James Ruth and he has also won the 36-hole Total Triumph Classic twice in succession in 2015 and 2016. 

His biggest success to date was winning the PGA Club Pro Championship two years ago and he was also a part of the Great Britain and Ireland PGA Cup-winning team in 2015.

As for his preparations for the BMW PGA Championship, which gets underway next Thursday (May 25), Hendriksen added: “I have been preparing well but I’ve had a bit of a problem with my wrist which has hampered my progress in recent weeks.

“It’s the first time I’ve played at an event on the European Tour and it’s the biggest event I’ve played at so I’m looking forward to it.

“I don’t really have any targets heading into the event. My aim is just to play as best as I can, do what I normally do at events and see how I get on.”

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Another PGA pro looking to make his mark in Surrey next week is former European Tour player Robert Coles.

The Hornchurch-born player turned professional back in 1994 and has participated in over 300 events, winning three Challenge Tour titles.

Coles is no stranger to the Wentworth course having finished tied 69th back in 2013 and in 12 years ago he produced his best ever performance at the event, finishing tied 39th.

“I can’t wait to play at this year’s event,” he said. “I’ve played there ten times before and I used to go and watch the tournament as a kid.

“It’s always a big field because it’s a massive event. There’s going to be some big players there and that’s what makes it such a big event, that’s what makes it so good. There will be big crowds too.”

Coles, 44, is one of three players to have already secured a spot in the Great Britain and Ireland team for the eagerly anticipated PGA Cup event at Foxhills Resort in September.

The Maylands Golf & Country Club-based PGA pro came close to winning his first European Tour title back in 2011 at the Avantha Masters and is hoping to impress on his tenth appearance at Wentworth.

He added: “My preparations haven’t been the best for this year’s event but I’ve took a walk around the course and I’ve heard it’s playing fantastic.

“The course itself has changed this year so you have to re-learn that a bit and know what to expect but I’m looking forward to it.”

*Hendriksen and Coles are two of 12 PGA professionals who will be hoping to make an impact at the BMW Championships. They will be joined at Wentworth by Ian Poulter, Robert Rock, Matthew Cort, Greig Hutcheon, Paul Streeter, Graham Fox, Neil O’Briain, Phillip Archer, Chris Gane and Damien McGrane.