Bjorn surprises himself at Wentworth

European Tour

Thomas Bjorn admitted to being a little shocked at his course record-equalling performance at the BMW PGA Championship on Thursday.

The former Wentworth resident used his local knowledge to great effect, shooting a brilliant 10-under-par 62 to grab a two-shot lead on the first day of the European Tour’s flagship event.

Bjorn played like a man possessed, carding eight birdies in an eagle in a round he described as one of the greatest of his career.

He was also lucky to reach the clubhouse before the first of two suspensions due to lightning disrupted the day’s action.

“I was signing my scorecard when the siren went and Stephen Gallacher looked at me and says, ‘You’re not having a very bad day, are you’?” Bjorn said. “We could kind of feel there was something going on in the weather, so it was nice to get in.”

“You shoot great rounds in your career but to shoot 62 on this course, you can’t ask for more.

“I don’t really know where to start. Last week was awful and I was starting to feel a little frustrated with things. Practice this week, I was not good either.

“To step out on this course of all courses and play like I did today was surprising. Although I lived here for nine years 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.”

At 10 under par, Bjorn holds a two-shot lead over Ireland’s Shane Lowry, with Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello a shot further back on seven under.

Gary Stal of the Netherlands follows on six under, while three more players – Justin Walters, Fabrizio Zanotti and Anthony Wall – lie on five under.

Some big names follow on four under, including Players champion Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson.

But the day belonged to Bjorn, who when asked to explain his renaissance after falling out of love with the game five or six years ago, replied: “Hard work. Determination to not let a golf career fade away.

“I’ve just been determined to get myself to where I can play with the best in the world and I’ll keep continuing to do that as long as my body allows me to.

“I enjoy being out here, which I probably didn’t do for a couple of years.

“It’s very easy when you get past 40 to stop enjoying this after a long career. I have travelled with my golf clubs since I was 14 years old and sometimes you forget why you love the game and it becomes hard work.”

Bjorn is currently third in the Ryder Cup qualifying race but knows a lot of hard work lies ahead.

“I still think I need to do a lot more. There’s a lot of guys playing great golf at the moment and over the last few weeks a few names are all starting to come back into the frame,” he added.

“I’ve watched a lot from the sidelines (he has been vice-captain three times) and that can hurt a little bit, but I wanted to play in another Ryder Cup and I’ve got to stay focused and determined to keep playing good golf to get there.”

The day’s lengthy suspensions means a number of players will have to complete their first rounds on Friday morning.

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