After opening-round 64s, Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Kiradech Aphibarnrat share the early lead at Wentworth, with Adam Scott a shot down and Justin Rose three back. Adam Scott made his first appearance in the BMW PGA Championship in 15 years, closing to within a stroke of the early lead at Wentworth.
On his way to an opening-round 65 on the West Course, the former world No. 1 blended eight birdies with a single bogey, putting him in third place behind early leaders Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Christiaan Bezuidenhout.
To set the clubhouse target, Aphibarnrat scored seven birdies in an eight-hole stretch en route to a bogey-free 64, only for Bezuidenhout to hole a 40-foot birdie at the par-five last to climb to eight under as well.
To be honest, Aphibarnrat thought his round was incredible. “My putter was in great shape today, there was a lot of solid ball striking, and the tee-to-green course was beautiful.”
Scott, who was playing with Rose, hit his tee ball to tap-in range at the par-three second and followed up a two-putt birdie at the par-five fourth with a pair of 15-footers at the seventh and 25-footers at the ninth to reach the turn in 31.
Scott picked up a shot on the 12th and rebounded from a poor drive on the 15th to hole out from 52 yards for an improbable birdie, before bouncing back from a bogey on the 18th to finish with back-to-back birdies and go to seven-under.
“I definitely felt the first ball was out-of-bounds,” Scott said of his 15th-hole tee shot to Sky Sports. “But it must have clouded about in the trees and dropped down.” “Off the tee, the second ball could not have been any better!”
Rose, who needed a win to qualify for Europe’s Ryder Cup team, birdied three of his first six holes and followed up a close-range birdie at the 12th with a par-five last-hole birdie to get off to a bogey-free start.
Compatriot Laurie Canter and Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura are three shots behind the leader, while Miguel Angel Jimenez rolled back the years with an opening-round 68 in his 30th appearance at the BMW PGA Championship.
Shane Lowry shot a two-under 70 with playing partner Lee Westwood, while Tommy Fleetwood, who completed the three-ball, recovered from two bogeys on the first seven holes to shoot a one-under 71 and stay within seven strokes of the lad.
Viktor Hovland, the tournament’s top-ranked player, birdied his final two holes to join Matt Fitzpatrick, Ian Poulter, and Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington in a level-par 72, while defending champion Tyrrell Hatton remains 10 shots down after a 74 in the first round.
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