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Ernie Els calls penalty on himself during BMW PGA Championship

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Ernie Els praises the Wentworth greens and reflects on an opening-round 71 at the BMW PGA Championship.

Ernie Els admits he wouldn't have been able to live with his actions had he not called a penalty on himself during the opening round of the BMW PGA Championship.

The three-time Wentworth runner-up posted a one-under 71 on Thursday, where he mixed three birdies with bogeys during a solid opening round.

Els reached the turn in 34 and cancelled out a blemish at the 10th with a five-foot gain at the 11th, before missing the green with his approach in to the par-five next.

VIRGINIA WATER, ENGLAND - MAY 25:  Ernie Els of South Africa talks to rules official Simon Higginbottom on the 14th hole during day one of the BMW PGA Cham
Image: Els discussed the penalty with tournament official Simon Higginbottom

That's where Els seemingly chipped in from the rough for eagle, only to call a two-shot penalty on himself after putting his ball back in the wrong position from a plugged lie.

"I pulled my second shot a bit left and hit it into the bank of the bunker," Els explained. "I thought it was plugged, so I asked my guys (playing partners) if I could check it and they said yeah.

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"I put it back and I hit my chip shot and I just felt uncomfortable by the way the ball came out. The ball came out way too good so I felt I didn't quite probably put it exactly where I should have.

"Under the rules you try and put it back the way you think it should be, but I still felt uncomfortable with it, so we took a two-shot penalty. I know deep down the ball wasn't quite where it should be and I wouldn't be able to live with myself."

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VIRGINIA WATER, ENGLAND - MAY 25:  Ernie Els of South Africa tees off on the 15th hole during day one of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on May 25, 2
Image: Els heads in to the week as the world No 404

Els was a key part of the committee responsible for the significant revamp to the West Course, with the four-time major champion pleased with the results.

"The greens are absolutely as pure as you can find," Els added. "Next week we'll be playing the Memorial and I think these greens are running just as good or better than the Memorial, or Augusta for that matter.

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"We listened to some of the players' comments through the years since we first started changing five years ago, and I think I feel we've got it right this time."

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