Just one week after his twin brother won the European Masters in Switzerland, Nicolai Hojgaard of Denmark earned his first European Tour victory at the Italian Open by one stroke over Tommy Fleetwood and Adrian Meronk. Hojgaard, 20, was the last man added to the Italian Open field with a wild-card entry from the Italian Golf Federation.
Now that the 2020-21 PGA Tour season and FedEx Cup playoffs have concluded, the tour takes a week off while the European Tour holds one of its flagship events at the BMW PGA Championship. Viktor Hovland (10-1) tied for fourth for the low 72-hole market last weekend at the Tour Championship. He does not play on the European Tour very often, but his lone 2021 victory came in June at the BMW International Open in Germany. Hovland and several other likely European Ryder Cup team members are playing this event. After a win in the early part of the year at Abu Dhabi, Tyrrell Hatton (16-1) has had a down second half of the year but is the defending champion of this event. Shane Lowry (18-1) holds the final spot on the world points list to select Team Europe for the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits at the end of the month. Matt Fitzpatrick and Fleetwood, both 22-1, are likely to be qualified for captain Padraig Harrington’s team.
Alex Noren (25-1) came up a couple of spots short two weeks ago to make the top 30 and advance to the Tour Championship. The 2017 BMW PGA champion is among a handful of players still with a chance to impress Harrington and make the Ryder Cup team. Billy Horschel (28-1) is the only American PGA Tour regular in this event, which could make an impression on U.S. captain Steve Stricker. Ian Poulter and Justin Rose, both at 33-1, will have to hope for captain’s picks. Australian Adam Scott (33-1) failed to advance after the first round of the FedEx Cup playoffs, so he is rested coming in this week in a rare European Tour start. South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout (35-1) finished third last weekend at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship to earn a PGA Tour card. Lee Westwood (40-1) would currently qualify for the Ryder Cup, while Bernd Wiesberger (40-1) has one last chance to impress. Henrik Stenson (40-1) seems a long shot to make the Ryder Cup team, but he has finishes of third, fourth and 15th over the last three weeks.