McIlroy off to nightmare start at Wentworth

McIlroy off to nightmare start at Wentworth

Rory McIlroy’s bid to equal his career-best season got off to a nightmare start in the opening round of the BMW PGA Championship.

McIlroy has won the Players Championship, Canadian Open and Tour Championship in 2019 but was determined not to rest on his laurels as he tries to close the gap on world number one Brooks Koepka.

The 30-year-old felt he was more than capable of winning two of his last five events to match the five wins he achieved in 2012, but slumped to a four-over-par 76 in glorious conditions at Wentworth.

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy after finishing his first round at four over during day one of the BMW PGA Championship (Bradley Collyer/PA)
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy after finishing his first round at four over during day one of the BMW PGA Championship (Bradley Collyer/PA)

The world number two got off to an ideal start with an eagle from 12 feet on the par-five fourth and a birdie from even closer range on the next.

However, McIlroy then dropped three shots in a row from the eighth and had to hole from 10 feet to save par on the 11th after his approach flew over the green.

A two-putt birdie on the par-five 12th got McIlroy back into red figures but he promptly bogeyed the 13th and was fortunate to drop just one shot on the 15th after his drive finished just yards from going out of bounds.

There was no such reprieve following a pulled drive on the 17th which led to a double-bogey seven and McIlroy’s misery was completed with a bogey on the last, after which he declined to talk to waiting reporters.

At the top of the leaderboard, England’s Matt Wallace had set the clubhouse target on seven under par thanks to an eagle and five birdies in a flawless 65.

“I played the first seven or eight holes as good as I possibly could and showed my all-round game by grinding out the last few holes,” Wallace said.

“I’m very happy. Whenever you can get off to a start like that it builds your confidence and just follows on from last week in Holland.”

Wallace enjoyed a one-shot lead over Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, whose 66 equalled his lowest round at Wentworth and was completed in style with an eagle on the 18th.

- Press Association

More in this Section

Draw sees 10-man Bohs bag Euro spotDraw sees 10-man Bohs bag Euro spot

Cup finalists Rovers seal Students’ fateCup finalists Rovers seal Students’ fate

Drogs’ vital late levellerDrogs’ vital late leveller

Cork City end home campaign on a highCork City end home campaign on a high


Lifestyle

It never ceases to stop me in my tracks when I hear my husband intone to our children one of the oft overused phrases from my stockpile of, “Can you just not?” categories.Lindsay Woods: If my children feel I’m doing it wrong then I must be doing it right

In honour of our Made in Munster special edition, Joe McNamee creates a four-course meal showcasing the best produce from the province. And there’s a lot to celebrate.The Menu's Made in Munster six course dinner - One from each county

More From The Irish Examiner