Ireland’s Peter Lawrie kept his cool to take a share of the first-round lead at the BMW PGA Championship as Rory McIlroy momentarily lost his in the Wentworth heat.
On a day when his more illustrious compatriot faced possible disciplinary action from the European Tour following a club-throwing incident during a two-over-par 74, Lawrie shot eight a six-under 66, the Dubliner’s lowest score around the West Course in 31 rounds dating back to his debut here in 2003.
Lawrie will tee off today at the top of the leaderboard with Scotland’s David Drysdale, a shot clear of Jamie Donaldson, Niclas Fasth, Alvaro Quiros and Justin Rose.
“I said to my caddie going down the first, I have never been as nervous because I was playing so well, trying to put so much pressure on myself to get a score, playing the way I was [in practice],” Lawrie said.
“Luckily enough, it has come off. I’ve shot 66, up on the leaderboard and hopefully I can stay there.”
It was a more troublesome day for Ireland’s two US Open champions, the reigning titleholder McIlroy and his immediate predecessor Graeme McDowell.
Both carded two-over-par 74s yesterday morning with McIlroy’s round pockmarked by five bogeys and a double bogey having eagled the 552-yard fourth. The par-five 12th was the lowlight, his second shot out of bounds “by about an inch” before a poor provisional shot resulted in the 23-year-old hurling his club in frustration on the way to a bogey.
“Four bogeys in five holes around the turn was very disappointing,” McIlroy said. “I feel like I’m playing pretty well, I just need to go out there and shoot the score.”
On the shot which went out of bounds, he added: “I just tried to cut it and double-crossed it. There are four par fives and you feel you should be taking advantage of them and three or four under should be the worst you do.”
McIlroy may not have heard the last of his actions on the 12th, with the Tour having the discretion to fine its members for conduct unbecoming.
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