Thursday, May 24, 2012


Scot David Drysdale and Irishman Peter Lawrie carded stunning rounds of 66 over Wentworth Club’s West Course to share the lead at the end of a long opening day at the BMW PGA Championship.
Lawrie produced a magnificent bogey-free effort to start The European Tour’s flagship event, picking up five shots in the first six holes.
Drysdale, pictured, from Dunbar, had seven birdies and a solitary bogey as the pair edged one ahead of World No 10 Justin Rose.
No fewer than nine players were tied on four under 68, amongst them Ernie Els – a seven times winner at the venue and the man charged with toughening the course in recent years.
Meanwhile Rory McIlroy, playing in Europe as World No 1 for the first time, went out of bounds by an inch en route to a two over par 74.
In contrast, Drysdale, 290 places below him in the Official World Golf Ranking, could not believe his luck as his second shot to the final hole went into the water and bounced out again.
"You could hit 1,000 balls and never have it happen," said the 37 year old, who went on to birdie the par five for a six under 66 and the joint lead with Ireland's Peter Lawrie.
"I don't know what it hit - maybe a fish. It was a massive break. I don't think I can say what I would have thought if I had taken six or seven there."
Co-leader Lawrie said: "I played so well in practice that I was kind of very nervous starting out.
"I missed a couple coming in, but 66 can't be sneezed at. The course is set up great for me - I'm not one of the longest hitters on Tour, but one of the straightest.
"You have to very patient and I'm quite a patient person. My wife wouldn't believe that, but I am on the course!"
Rose achieved his score after fearing he might have to withdraw before the round.
"An hour before my tee time, I thought: 'I can't play'. I guess it was some sort of vertigo - I was nearly falling over and was sitting in the doctor's chair for a while.
"He gave me an anti-nausea or something and did a good job getting me ready. I felt fine all the way round."
McIlroy’s misfortune came as he ran up a six on the long 12th, the last of four bogeys in five holes and a double bogey at the 16th was to follow.
If the 23 year old does fail to make it through to the weekend Luke Donald will need a top-eight finish to go back to World No 1, but he is aiming much higher than that after a 68.
Donald has the chance to join Sir Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie as the only players to make a successful defence of The European Tour's flagship event.
He bogeyed the ninth and tenth like McIlroy, but had already had four birdies and two more were to come in the last three holes.
That still made him the highest scorer in his group, though. Compatriot Justin Rose and big-hitting Spaniard Alvaro Quiros both scored 67.
McIlroy was the highest in his three-ball too. Ernie Els, the man who toughened up the course two years ago, shot 68 and US-based Scot Martin Laird, runner-up at Sawgrass, had a 73 on his debut in the championship.
Lee Westwood, whose play-off defeat to Donald 12 months ago cost him the World Number One position, returned a 70 and was delighted with that given he was not at his best, saying: "I didn't have anywhere near my A-game and not even my B-game really."
The two pacesetters are both outside the game's top 200, former Open de España champion Lawrie currently standing 212th.
He was also the joint leader on the first day in 2006, and did not waste a blistering start in which he eagled the fourth and birdied the second, fifth and sixth.
Of the later starters, Swede Niclas Fasth was going best at five under with four to play - the last two of them par fives.
Fasth's hopes of grabbing the lead nosedived when he double-bogeyed the 16th to be only three under and he finished on 68
Par 72
66 David Drysdale (Scotland), Peter Lawrie (Ireland)
67 Jamie Donaldson (Wales), Justin Rose (England), Alvaro Quiros (Spain), Richard S Johnson (Sweden), Niclas Fasth (Sweden).
68 Marc Warren (Scotland), George Coetzee (South Africa), Robert Rock (England), Ernie Els (South Africa), Bernd Wiesberger (Austria), Kenneth Ferrie (England), Scott Jamieson (Scotland), Mark F Haastrup (Sweden), James Morrison (England), Raphael Cabrera-Bello (Spain), Francesco Molinari (Italy), Luke Donald (England), Peter Hedblom (Sweden), 

Players from Scotland unless stated
69 Paul Lawrie, Richie Ramsay, Colin Montgomerie (T21)
72 Stephen Gallacher, George Murray (T68)
73 Greig Hutcheon, Martin Laird (T83)
74 Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland), Graeme McDowell (Northern Ireland).
77 David Patrick, Scott Drummond, Peter Whiteford (T135).



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