On the tee: at the BMW PGA Championship

Luke Donald will launch his bid for a hat-trick of BMW PGA Championship titles at 12.50 on Thursday in the company of Spanish duo of Sergio Garcia and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño.

Donald, who beat Lee Westwood in a play-off in 2011 and then successfully defended the title last year to become only the third player to win the European Tour’s flagship event back-to-back, will be looking to make it three in a row over the famous West Course at Wentworth Club.

Joining him will be Garcia, competing in the BMW PGA Championship for the first time since 2000, and  Fernandez-Castano, winner of Italian Open last year under BMW’s sponsorship.

Australian Andrew Dodt will raise the curtain on the championship in the first group off at 7am on Thursday and there are plenty of mouth-watering groupings to look forward to.

By 8.00am, 2011 Open Champion Darren Clarke will be on the course, closely followed by Europe’s Ryder Cup heroes Justin Rose and Martin Kaymer, and then three more of the Medinah maestros in World Number Two Rory McIlroy, last week’s match play champion Graeme McDowell, and Paul Lawrie at 8.25am.

Around lunchtime reigning Open Champion Ernie Els will launch his bid to win on the course he re-designed at 13.00 alongside Lee Westwood and Francesco Molinari followed by Thomas Björn, last week’s winner from Madeira, Peter Uihlein, and 2009 champion Paul Casey.

There will be some significant milestones for some of the Tour’s elder statesmen when they tee off with Miguel Angel Jiménez set to play his 600th European Tour event when he begins his round at 7.50, while José María Olazábal, off at 12.20, and Colin Montgomerie, teeing off at 13.25, will both be playing the championship for the 25th time.

Last to take to the course will be the three-ball of Alexandre Kaleka, Eddie Pepperell and Martin Wiegele, striking their first blows at 15.40.

Click here for the full draw for rounds one and two at the BMW PGA Championship.