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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Swedish duo can mash weak opposition in opening round

Noren fresh from superb Sawgrass debut

Tommy Fleetwood has been in awesome ball-striking form
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Starts 7am Thursday
Live on Sky Sports 4 from 10am

The Wentworth hordes are set to enjoy glorious Surrey sunshine for the first round of the BMW PGA Championship, with Masters runner-up Justin Rose likely to command a large gallery for his 8.25am threeball with Ernie Els and Matthew Fitzpatrick.

Rose, the 12-1 PGA favourite, headlines the morning wave, before 14-1 chance Henrik Stenson tees off at 12.50pm alongside Branden Grace and Tommy Fleetwood. Lovers of lusty driving should make a beeline for the 9.40am group, which comprises the power-packed trio of Dean Burmester, Nicolas Colsaerts and Alvaro Quiros.

The best threeball punting options, though, come in the shape of two Swedes who should be able to boss their playing partners. Alexander Noren and Rikard Karlberg are the men to trust on day one.

Noren won four European Tour titles last year from July through to November, including two in the UK (Scottish Open and British Masters), and a superb Players Championship debut last time out suggests he may be warming up for another golden summer.

Noren finished tenth in the elite company of Sawgrass, greatly impressing from tee to green, and he should get off to a flyer today if he has carried that form to Wentworth. Andrew Johnston and Andy Sullivan could be left behind.

Johnston may have made a rod for his own back by being such a genial crowd-pleaser – the fans are going to be demanding plenty of interaction this week – and Beef could do with just concentrating on finding some form. Aside from tenth place in the low-grade Puerto Rico Open in March, he has been struggling to make an impact.

Sullivan has failed to impress, too, making odds-against quotes about world number 13 Noren well worth an interest.

Karlberg has been less successful than his compatriot, but he faces weaker threeball opposition. Paul Peterson and Hennie Otto are a pair of powder-puff drivers who should be outclassed from tee to green. Karlberg's last competitive round at Wentworth was a 65, which claimed the runner-up spot 12 months ago.

Punters looking for a bigger price are pointed towards Fleetwood. The Englishman has outperformed Stenson and Grace this year and should be favourite on recent evidence.

A Noren
3pts 6-5 general

R Karlberg
2pts 13-10 Hills

T Fleetwood
1pt 2-1 general

Punters looking for a bigger price are pointed towards Fleetwood
E.W. Terms
Sky bet