Johan Carlsson is the man to catch at BMW PGA Championship after his 66 on the 1st round. Francesco Molinari, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Jamieson set the clubhouse target as the BMW PGA Championship launched the Rolex Series in glorious conditions on Thursday. A new era for the European Tour began at Wentworth Club with an elite field teeing it up for the first of eight prestige events throughout the course of the season.
With the sun beating down on the famous remodeled venue, Francesco Molinari, Aphibarnrat and Jamieson carded five under par rounds of 67 to lead by one from Nino Bertasio and Graeme Storm. Scotsman Jamieson looked on course for his second European Tour win earlier in the season before a closing 78 at the Tshwane Open and has missed just three cuts in ten events. He was bogey-free on Thursday morning, making gains on the fourth, fifth, tenth, 13th and 16th.
Aphibarnrat was a two-time winner in 2015. He turned in 31 with birdies on the second, fourth, sixth and seventh. Further gains on the 12th and 13th moved him to six under but he bogeyed the next and missed a ten-footer on the last to reclaim the solo lead.
Molinari joined the leading duo as he overcame an opening dropped shot. The Italian made gains on the fourth and eighth but really came to life on the back nine, birdieing the 12th, adding a lengthy effort on the 13th, and finishing birdie-birdie. His Italian fellow Bertasio finished with two birdies after earlier describing his BMW PGA Championship debut as a dream come true. He made birdies on the sixth, eighth, 12th and 14th to go with bogeys on the tenth and 15th before his big finish that included a 30-footer on the last.
Storm had set the early pace, turning in 30 with birdies on the first and second, an eagle on the par five fourth and a birdie on the sixth. Another gain on the tenth made him the first man to six under but a double-bogey on the next stalled his progress as the Englishman came back in 38.
Ross Fisher and Johan Carlsson were also four under with two and ten holes to play respectively. Tyrrell Hatton carded a 69 that included a lip-out off the tee on the 14th, with Li Haotong also in the clubhouse at three under.
Shane Lowry, Bradley Dredge and Dean Burmester were also two shots off the lead playing the back nine. ETC