BMW PGA Championship: Fleetwood shines on return to share first-round lead

By Sports Desk September 08, 2022

Tommy Fleetwood impressed on his return to claim a share of the lead after round one of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, shooting eight-under-par to end Thursday tied with Andy Sullivan and Viktor Hovland.

Fleetwood had not played since finishing fourth in the Open at St Andrews in July, having taken an extended period of absence following his mother's death.

But he showed no signs of rustiness on Thursday as he cruised around a rainy Wentworth in 64 shots, covering his last seven holes in six under before declaring his delight at returning to the DP World Tour. 

"It's nice to be back more than anything," said Fleetwood. "Seven weeks off feels more like two years I guess. 

"When you stand on the first tee, you don't know what to expect, no matter how well you might have been practising or playing.

"It was a lovely grouping to come back to, best friends on Tour [Justin Rose was in his group]. It's always better that I played good rather than bad, but it was just nice to be back."

Sullivan recovered with a fine bunker shot at the 18th to ensure he remained level with Fleetwood, before Hovland joined the leading duo in style with an eagle on the last, sinking a fine putt from 27 feet.

Jordan Matthew finished seven-under on a good day for the home hopefuls, with Shane Lowry, Jason Scrivener, Fabrizio Zanotti and Marcus Amitage all a shot further back.

Rory McIlroy, who became the first three-time FedEX Cup winner last month, finished four-under for the day, and told Sky Sports he could have done more.

"I thought I played okay, as you said the rain was on and off all day and that made it really tricky," he said.

"I felt four-under was pretty pedestrian, I didn't do a lot right, I didn't do a lot wrong, I definitely feel that the course is going to be very gettable for the rest of the week.

"Winning gives me motivation more than anything else, you've proven to yourself that you can win, you can beat the best players in the world. I've always got this sense of excitement after a win, and it's about resetting goals to strive for other things."

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