Five-time European Tour winner Matthew Fitzpatrick and reigning Open Champion Shane Lowry both carded rounds of 65 to share the halfway lead at the BMW PGA Championship, the third Rolex Series event of the 2020 Race to Dubai.
For Lowry, it continues a remarkable love affair with Wentworth Club’s West Course, upon which no other player has carded more rounds of 67 or lower since 2011 – a feat which the Irishman has achieved seven times following his seven under par second round.
His flawless round was his lowest on the European Tour in 2020, moving him to a 12 under total. He was joined at the top by Fitzpatrick, who had carded seven birdies and an eagle to move into a two-shot lead stepping onto his 36th hole of the week, but a double-bogey at the eighth – his last of the day – meant he had to settle for a share of the lead with Lowry.
“Everything’s been solid, really,” said Fitzpatrick. “I drove the ball well, chipped well, putted well, iron play is good. So it’s been nice that it’s all come together to be honest. I feel the last few weeks, I’ve done three things well and one thing’s been off. It’s nice for it all to come together.
“It’s nice being back in the UK. I wish it was a bit warmer, but it is great. The golf courses the last two weeks, the hospitality, just being back on The European Tour seeing familiar places is great.
“This is my best position since I’ve been here at Wentworth. I love the golf course. I’ve always felt it suited my game but I’ve never really kicked on around here, but if I can just keep playing how I’ve been playing, make some putts, as well, there’s no reason why I can’t finish it off.”
Lowry meanwhile was pleased to be able to take full advantage of ideal scoring conditions in the morning.
“This morning we got out, it was an absolutely beautiful morning,” he said. “It was such a nice day to play golf. We got quite lucky, no wind, although it was quite cold. The wind didn’t pick up until maybe last five or six holes and thankfully I’ve taken advantage of it now.
“I’ve had a couple of decent scores. I’ll sit back and watch some golf this afternoon and see where I am at the end of the day get on and see what I can do on the weekend.
“I just always have loved this place. I came here in 2010 first when they had only just done the redesign and I remember everybody moaning that year. You know, they made a lot of changes since then and it’s great and it’s not as hard as it was. I just love coming back. It’s obviously different now, we can’t leave the hotel but even staying at Cowarth Park, it’s a great place to stay.”
Both players will enter the weekend targeting a maiden Rolex Series triumph, while Ryder Cup player Tyrrell Hatton, who already has two Rolex Series titles to his name, is one shot back after finishing his second round of 67 with three birdies in his final four holes.
Denmark’s Joachim B Hansen and Frenchman Victor Perez are two shots further back on a nine under par while Race to Dubai leader Patrick Reed moved into the top ten on six under par courtesy of a round of 68.
David Howell, meanwhile, aced the par three 14th hole which secured a donation of £71,675 for the Official Tournament Charity Alzheimer’s Society from title sponsors BMW, as part of the European Tour’s Golf for Good initiative. The amount donated equals the value of the BMW 530e Touring which overlooks the tee this week.
Full Irish day one report HERE