Molinari two ahead at Wentworth

European Tour

Francesco Molinari earned a two-stroke lead after the opening round of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on Thursday.

The Italian carded a flawless seven-under 65 to take a two-shot lead over Swede Robert Karlsson, while a host of others, including Miguel Angel Jimenez, are on four under.

Molinari rolled in birdies on the fourth and fifth, but would have to wait until the eleventh for his next one.

The former Ryder Cup star, who is coming off a runner-up finish at last week’s Open de Espana, then took advantage of the three par fives and the short par three to grab the outright lead.

“I think I missed one green on the third and chipped up to two feet, so it was as stress-free as it could be round here,” the 32-year-old told europeantour.com.

“I love this place and it’s good to be back. It rewards accuracy, which suits my game.”

Fellow Ryder Cup player Luke Donald is back on two under while Victor Dubuisson is a further shot back, level with defending champion Rory McIlroy.

There were also two notable absentees on day one. Three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington withdrew earlier in the day due to a shoulder injury, while Scot Stephen Gallacher is suffering with tendonitis in his wrist.

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