Trio claim Wentworth lead

European Tour

Y.E. Yang, Scott Hend and Joost Luiten claimed a share of the lead of the BMW PGA Championship on Thursday after carding seven-under-par 65s at Wentworth.

Masters champion Danny Willett also made a fast start to the tournament, and is in fourth place, one shot behind the leaders on a day of low scoring at the European Tour headquarters.

Willett is the highest-ranked player in the field and is playing in his first tournament in his home country after winning the Green Jacket.

"Last week in Ireland [where he played at the Irish Open] was fantastic, but a little bit more support out there being a home boy in England," Willett said after his bogey-free round. 

"Great reception all the way around. You've got to appreciate that and enjoy it, and hopefully, touch wood, give them some good golf to watch."

Defending champion Byeong-Hun An rolled in four successive birdies early in his round to claim the lead, but a back nine of 40 saw him drop down the field with a round of 72. In the end, he was completely overshadowed by another player from South Korea.

Yang, who famously won the 2009 PGA Championship when he chased down Tiger Woods in his pomp during a thrilling final round, bogeyed his first hole but responded with eight birdies in a thrilling display of attacking golf.

Whilst Yang remains the country's only male major winner, several other Koreans are starting to make their mark on the European Tour. Lee Soo-min won the Shenzhen International and Wang Jeung-hun won successive events in Morocco and Mauritius.

"More are playing good (and) maybe better than me and K.J. (Choi)," Yang told the media from the clubhouse after his round.

"Different players, and more and more good players are coming."

Hend, meanwhile, had more of a conservative approach in his round, although he also sunk eight birdies and carded a lone bogey.

Dutch player Luiten, who missed the cut in Ireland last week after rounds of 75 and 80, looked a completely different animal this time around and notched nine birdies in his round.

One shot behind Willet are Richard Green, England's Robert Rock and South Africa's Jaco van Zyl, while former world number one Luke Donald opened with a 68 at the European Tour's flagship event with a 68.

"That was a perfect start," said Donald, whose ranking had dropped down to 76th in recent times. 

"The last year or two has been tough, I've struggled to gain confidence and feel comfortable, but the last couple of months I'm feeling more and more comfortable and it's nice to see some better results. I feel like I am on the upward path."