BMW PGA Championship: Thomas Bjorn leads with course record
Thomas Bjorn equalled the course record at Wentworth to lead on a weather-interrupted first day of the PGA Championship.
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SportsPaulH
Last Updated: 23/05/14 6:10am
After 50-year-old Miguel Angel Jimenez won in Spain last week, 43-year-old Bjorn struck another blow for the experienced heads on the European Tour as he hit an eagle and eight birdies in his ten-under round of 62.
Shane Lowry managed to get his round done after two delays, and it was a beauty with ten birdies in his eight-under 64, which left him in second behind Bjorn and two shots ahead of Frenchman Gary Stal.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello later grabbed third on seven-under, with Stal on six-under and Players Championship winner Martin Kaymer and Henrik Stenson, who could go to world No 1 this week, another two strokes back on four-under alongside Rory McIlroy.
McIlroy continued to have an eventful week as he carded two eagles, one a spectacular two at the par-four seventh before dropping a shot at the 17th and birdieing the last in his four-under round of 68 - some achievement given the circumstances.
12 groups will have to return on Friday to complete their first rounds, but the lead looks safe with Bjorn - who used to live at Wentworth but has had scant success in this tournament so far.
"To step out on this course of all courses and play like I did today was surprising," said Bjorn. "It was just one of those days where you walk off the course and think I want to keep playing.
"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.
"I haven't had the best record here. It has been a long time since I have had any sort of result on this golf course. You shoot great rounds of golf in your career but to shoot 62 on this golf course, you can't ask for much more."
Lowry's round was twice disrupted by the bad weather, but the 27-year-old - who won the Irish Open as an amateur in 2009 - was not about to say a bad word about the tournament.
"I love it around here," said Lowry. "It's a great event. It's a great golf course. I've been struggling and my best finish this season was last week, tied 15th in the Spanish Open.
"I've missed a few cuts and haven't really been putting that well but I managed to find something at home a couple of weeks ago and hopefully can keep it going.
"I went back to an old putter that I used years ago and it brought back good memories maybe."
McIlroy did a commendable job to put his personal problems - he announced on Wednesday that he had called off planned November wedding to Caroline Wozniacki - behind him and card a first round 68.
"At times it was very difficult but I just tried to bury my head in my golf and I did a pretty good job of it," said McIlroy.
"It's going to be a very tough week and I am just trying to put my head fully into my golf. I think it's only natural, I don't think you would be human if it wasn't tough, especially when it's a little slow out there and you are waiting between shots.
Spain's Sergio Garcia completed a one-over par 73 before withdrawing from the tournament with a knee injury.
Defending champion Matteo Manassero fared even worse as he carded a woeful eight-over round of 80 including two double-bogeys and a quadruple bogey nine on the par-five 17th to leave him dead last on the leaderboard.