Carlsson outshines big names at Wentworth

Nine of the world's top 30 are in action at Wentworth this week, but it is the unheralded Johan Carlsson who holds the early lead.

Published : May 26, 2017 01:47 IST

Johan Carlsson upstaged a host of higher-profile names to claim a one-shot lead on day one of the BMW PGA Championship.

Swede Carlsson carded a 66 on Thursday, despite bogeying the 10th and 18th, as the first event of the European Tour's Rolex Series began at Wentworth.

Carlsson's six-under opening round was enough to put him one clear of Francesco Molinari, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Jamieson, while world number five Henrik Stenson was among a host of players two shots off the pace, together with the likes of Thomas Pieters, Branden Grace, Alex Noren and Ross Fisher.

Also at four under were Bradley Dredge, Shane Lowry, Graeme Storm and Nino Bertasio, but Justin Rose and defending champion Chris Wood had ground to make up after both men shot 72.

Carlsson missed six successive cuts on the European Tour from February to April, but has hinted at a return to form with top-25 finishes at his last two events.

After recording eight birdies on Thursday, he said: "I had one goal in mind today and that was to commit to every shot, as good as I possibly can, and I think I did. That's probably why I got that score.

"I didn't try to hit any super fancy shots. I just played with what I had and I think that was the key to success."

Pieters also finished with a dropped shot, but was delighted with his performance on the greens.

"[There were] plenty of positives," said the Belgian. "I think I had 22 putts, so that's always good. I drove it well. Just hit some very average to bad iron shots. [I'm] going to work on that this afternoon."

Ernie Els imposed a two-shot penalty on himself at the 12th, turning what would have been a three-under 69 into a 71.

Els chipped in for eagle at the par five after he had checked for a plugged lie and replaced his ball by the green. Explaining his subsequent decision to take a penalty, he said: "The ball came out way too good. So I felt I didn't quite probably put it [back] exactly where I should have. I know deep down, the ball wasn't quite where it should be, and you know, I wouldn't be able to live with myself."

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