Marcus Helligkilde produced a big finish at Wentworth Club to open up a two-shot lead after day one of the BMW PGA Championship.
The Dane birdied his final three holes to sign for a 64 and move to eight under par ahead of Scot Richie Ramsay and England’s Matt Fitzpatrick, before play was halted due to fading light in the fourth Rolex Series event of the season.
All 12 members of Europe’s Ryder Cup team are teeing it up this week and Fitzpatrick was the best of them on Thursday, with Matthew Baldwin and James Morrison one shot further back at five under par alongside Spanish pair Jorge Campillo and Pablo Larrazábal, Belgian Thomas Detry, Japan’s Rikuya Hoshino, Pole Adrian Meronk and Scot Connor Syme.
But it was 2021 European Challenge Tour Number One Helligkilde who stole the show in Surrey, carding ten birdies en route to matching his lowest DP World Tour round to par, as he looks to better his second place finish in Korea earlier this year – the best result of his DP World Tour career so far.
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“I’ve been playing pretty well since I came out after the break, and because of some other circumstances, I haven’t been able to practice that much,” said Helligkilde.
“I haven’t been playing practice rounds the last few weeks. Kind of takes the pressure off. So that’s a good thing.
“Down the last few holes when I was putting in a good score, people started to come out, and the atmosphere is just amazing here. It’s one of the best events I’ve ever played in. I love being here.”
Ryder Cup team mates Ludvig Åberg and Tyrrell Hatton are amongst a group of nine players at four under par, with a further three of Luke Donald’s side – Tommy Fleetwood, Viktor Hovland and defending champion Shane Lowry – at three under, alongside European Junior Ryder Cup Captain Stephen Gallacher, Rolex Series winner Aaron Rai and a further six players.