Greig Hutcheon can be forgiven for not reminiscing too much about last year’s BMW PGA Championship after the Scottish teaching professional suffered a final round meltdown to end any hopes of a personal best finish.
The two-time Scottish PGA Championship winner looked like causing a major upset in 2016 when a triple birdie finish on Saturday left him flirting with the leading pack heading into the final day of action.
But the ‘golfing gods’ turned their backs on Hutcheon as he dropped eight shots in the final six holes to finish on what in the end was a disappointing score of eight over par.
“I’ve had a decent run on the last two Saturdays but I’ve drifted away on the Sunday,” said Hutcheon.
“I’ve actually been tied 19th going into the final round on my last two appearances but I haven’t quite got the run of the green on the final day.
“I think last year I hit four fairways and the ball managed to find four divots so I’m looking for a change of luck because those little things can make such a big difference.”
There has been plenty of talk about the major changes to the Wentworth course ahead of this year’s event.
New putting surfaces have been introduced to all 18 holes following extensive work over the past 12 months at the famous West Course in Surrey, and PGA Professional Greig Hutcheon is predicting high scores this time around.
“I’ve heard they’ve tried to return to the course back to its old original design.
“A lot of fairway bunkers have gone and the greens have been lowered and softened a little.
“The course was fantastic to play but it was also extremely difficult and I’ve got a feeling it might be a bit easier this year.
“Wentworth is never easy but I’m expecting the scores to be a little better than perhaps in previous years. I’m looking forward to seeing the changes.”
A star-studded line-up will greet Hutcheon and his 11 fellow PGA Professionals with the likes of world number two Rory McIlroy, Open Champion Henrik Stenson and Olympic Champion Justin Rose all set to make an appearance.
“It’s such a big tournament,” Hutcheon continued. “It’s perhaps one of the most valuable tournaments in the country.
“It’s nice to see lots of big names playing at the event with Rory (McIlroy) and Justin (Rose) taking part. All these guys are usually based in America so it’s nice to see them back playing in Britain.”
As for his chances this time around, Hutcheon is aiming to make the cut once again and still feels he has the game to put pressure on those at the top end of the leaderboard.
He added: “I’m 44 now so I’m no spring chicken but I come into the competition with a lot of experience and I’ve played at Wentworth many times before.
“The key is to focus on your own game. I’ve had a few aches and pains which is expected at this age but I’ve been doing a lot of flexibility work and stretching.
“My game at the moment isn’t too bad. I can still hit the ball a reasonable distance which is a good thing given my age, but I’m just looking forward to getting myself on the course next week."
ABOVE - Matthew Cort is looking forward to playing the new Wentworth course.
It will be a fifth appearance at the BMW PGA Championship for Matthew Cort when he takes to the Wentoworth fairways this week.
Cort, 42, heads to Surrey in good form after tasting victory at the PGA Play-offs back in October last year – an event he had finished twice runner-up at in previous years.
He was the first player to win three successive PGA Assistants’ Championship titles between 2011 and 2013 and he will be part of the 2017 Great Britain and Ireland team for the PGA Cup event in September.
“I’ve had some good rounds there – nothing spectacular,” said Cort.
“The course has changed a little bit – the greens have been redesigned. That’s the same for everyone – they will be encountering it for the first time so we’ve all got to try and get used to it.”
Graham Fox is preparing for a third appearance at Wentworth.
Scottish golfer Graham Fox will be hoping to make it third time lucky as he looks to make the cut for the first time in his career at Wentworth.
The 39-year-old, who is based at Ivybridge Golf Club, shot a respectable 72 in his opening round last year but a 77 on the Friday saw him miss the cut after finishing the tournament on five over par.
*A total of 12 PGA Professionals will be hoping to make an impact at the BMW PGA Championship. They are Ian Poulter, Robert Rock, Robert Coles, Greig Hutcheon, Chris Gane, Paul Hendriksen, Matthew Cort, Paul Streeter, Graham Fox, Neil O’Brian, Phillip Archer and Damien McGrane.
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