sport

Bjorn quick out of the traps

Former Wentworth resident Thomas Bjorn made the most of his local knowledge to set a fast pace in the first round of the BMW PGA Championship.

South African Justin Walters had set the clubhouse target with a five-under-par 67, but Bjorn was eight under par with four holes remaining thanks to six birdies and an eagle.

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 another birdie from a similar distance on the 14th.

Despite living on the Wentworth estate for several 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.

Walters, who missed the cut on his debut here 12 months ago, carded five birdies, an eagle and two bogeys in his 67, with England's David Horsey returning a 68 containing five birdies and one bogey.

European number one Henrik Stenson, who can replace Adam Scott as world number one depending on results this week, was another shot back on three under after four birdies and one bogey in his first 12 holes.

If Scott misses the cut in the Crowne Plaza Invitational on the PGA Tour, Stenson would only need to finish inside the top 30 at Wentworth to ensure the Australian's spell on top of the rankings only lasts a week.

Many players and caddies were wearing black on Thursday in memory of caddie Iain McGregor, who died during the Madeira Islands Open earlier this month.

Bjorn was undeterred by intermittent torrential downpours - almost 11 millimetres of rain had also fallen overnight - as he birdied the 16th and almost chipped in for another on the 17th.

A superb pitch to the last then left the Dane with a tap-in birdie to complete a superb 62 and equal the course record set by Robert Karlsson in 2010, although Karlsson's round was only nine under as the 12th was played as a par four that year, instead of a par five.

Moments after Bjorn had completed the joint lowest round of his European Tour career, play was suspended due to the threat of lightning, although the players were being kept in "evacuation vehicles" on the course.