FIVE rising stars of English golf are the latest additions to a stellar line-up for the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth later this month.
Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Andy Sullivan will join defending champion Chris Wood as they tackle the revamped West Course in the hope of providing another home victor.
They will have their work cut out as a world-class field assembles at the prestigious Surrey venue, with Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose headlining the field at the BMW PGA Championship.
Defending champion Wood claimed the biggest win of his career at the 2016 BMW PGA Championship, after carding a closing round of 69 for a nine under total and a one-stroke victory over Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg, in doing so securing his third European Tour title.
“I’m certainly looking forward to returning to Wentworth this year as the defending champion,” said the Bristolian. “It is always a massive tournament in England. I just can’t wait to get out on the new West Course and play some great golf in front of the fans, as well as my family and friends.”
Fleetwood kick-started his year with a memorable win at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, his second European Tour victory, and maintained his impressive run of form with a second place finish at the WGC-Mexico Championship in March.
“It is a big tournament for me, it’s a big deal and I am a BMW ambassador too – they are great for me, great for golf, and great for the European Tour – I am very proud to represent a brand that shares so many similar values, so I would especially love to win this one,” said the Southport native.
“Playing in front of home crowds is such a great feeling. I’ve only been late on a Sunday a couple of times and coming down the 18th, seeing that grandstand is something very special. It’s something you don’t really ever forget.”
Hatton has embarked on a meteoric rise in the Official World Golf Rankings – breaking inside the top 50 last October thanks to a maiden victory at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, and he currently occupies the World No. 16 spot.
He returns to Wentworth, the tournament which inspired him to take up the game, as a serious title contender.
“It’s my favourite event of the year,” he said. “I’ve gone to that event since I was a six-year-old, so for me to now be playing in the tournament is pretty cool, and it’s an event that I always look forward to. With the course changes, that’s another extra bonus.
“It’s a course that suits my eye. It is so well supported and for me to have my friends and family there makes it extra special.”
Fitzpatrick had a year to remember in 2016, the 22-year-old securing a third European Tour title at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai and making his Ryder Cup debut at Hazeltine National.
“There are some good young guys coming through and I think it makes for some exciting years on the Tour, particularly for English golf and hopefully we can inspire the next generation,” said the World No. 32.
“Obviously there have already been some big names that have committed to the tournament and no doubt it’s going to have a strong quality field so it should be a fantastic week.”
Sullivan, also a three-time European Tour champion, will join his Ryder Cup teammates Wood and Fitzpatrick at the BMW PGA Championship, the Nuneaton native excited by the prospect of playing back on UK soil. I love having my family and friends at Wentworth during the week,” said Sullivan.
“It really adds another layer to the tournament, plus with all of the fans that stream in every day. It is amazing to hear the cheers coming from the grandstands, especially when it’s the English crowds getting right behind you.
“We all want to win this event. It has been a good run for English golfers recently and this is one of the most prestigious events on the Tour for us.
“With the course changes this year, it’s going to be a big challenge and a massive factor for everyone, so I’m looking forward to getting out there in May for the first event of the Rolex Series.”
For further information regarding tickets for the Pro-Am, or for the BMW PGA Championship and Official Hospitality and VIP Packages visit www.europeantour.com