Bjorn tames Wentworth with a stunning 62
The 43-year-old is the clubhouse leader with Shane Lowry a couple of shots adrift
Ireland’s Shane Lowry hits from the rough during day one of the BMW PGA Championship at the Wentworth Club, Surrey. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA Wire.
A stunning back nine left Ireland’s Shane Lowry in second position at Wentworth. Having carded six birdies and no bogeys down the straight before bad weather stopped play for the second time, Lowry sat at -8 in the BMW PGA Championship with just the final hole to play.
Two bogeys and four birdies on the front nine took the Offaly man to the turn in 33 with just a par required on his final hole for him to post a 64. A fifteen foot putt for birdie skirted the cup but the par was enough to put him into second position overall, two shots adrift of clubhouse leader Thomas Bjorn, who posted 62 for his opening round.
The other Irish players had varying fortunes. Michael Hoey shot 71 with Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley posting a +2 for 74. Darren Clarke shot three over par, while Rory McIlroy made par the first hole before play stopped. Peter Lowry was one over after seven holes and Gareth Maybin one over after five holes.
Former Wentworth resident Bjorn hailed the best round of his entire career after carding a brilliant 62 .
Bjorn carded eight birdies and an eagle to equal the course record set by Sweden’s Robert Karlsson in 2010, although Karlsson’s score was “only” nine under as the 12th was played as a par four instead of a par five that year.
“You shoot great rounds in your career but to shoot 62 on this course, you can’t ask for more,” said Bjorn, who went on to win the European Masters in 2011 the last time he shot 62 on the European Tour.
“I don’t really know where to start. Last week was awful (he missed the cut in the Spanish Open) and I was starting to feel a little frustrated with things and in practice this week I was not good either.
“To step out on this course of all courses and play like I did today was surprising. It was just one of those days where you walk off the course and think I want to keep playing.”
In fact no one was able to keep playing within minutes of Bjorn tapping in for a birdie on the last, with play then suspended due to the threat of lightning. Ireland’s Shane Lowry and Germany’s Marcel Siem were six under with four holes of their rounds to play, with South African Justin Walters safely in the clubhouse on five under after a 67.
Bjorn, who looks set to qualify for his first Ryder Cup appearance since 2002, birdied the second, fourth and seventh to reach the turn in 32 before a superb scoring burst on the back nine.
The 43-year-old birdied the 10th and 11th and holed from just six feet for an eagle on the par-five 12th, before picking up further birdies on the 14th, 16th and 18th. Despite living on the Wentworth estate for nine years, Bjorn’s best finish in the tournament is a share of fifth back in 1998, although he also lost in the final of the World Match Play Championship here in 2003.
“It’s not a place where I think it’s going to be a great week but I have to stick my head down now and focus on the rest of the week,” he added.