The BMW European PGA Championship, the last qualifying stage for players from the Old Continent before the Ryder Cup, is led after a day by the Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat and the South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout, who will want to play the spoilsport at the club Wentworth Golf Course, England.
At the opening of the tournament Thursday, the two golfers gave identical records of 64 strokes (-8). Aphibarnrat, modest 516e world player, had a sparkling day of eight birdies, including seven of the back-only nine.
It must be said that the outcome of this competition has much less impact on non-European players, since places in the group that will go to the Ryder Cup have yet to be distributed. The prestigious competition, scheduled for September 24, traditionally pits the best golfers of the Old Continent against those of the United States.
In fourth place follows the Englishman Justin Rose, who delivered a card of 67 (-5) in the first round. He is looking for a fifth consecutive appearance in the Ryder Cup, and if he does not win the BMW Championship, then he should hope to be selected by European captain Padraig Harrington.
Still, Rose’s charm operation went well with her five birdies. He finds in front of him the Australian Adam Scott (-7), who claims only one stroke behind the leaders.
A team to complete
The Europeans already mathematically qualified for the Ryder Cup are the Spaniard Jon Rahm, the Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy, the Norwegian Viktor Hovland and the English Paul Casey and Tommy Fleetwood. Several other golfers are almost part of the group of nine qualified by points. Three athletes will also be selected by Harrington.
Defending BMW Championship champion Tyrrell Hatton will advance to the major tournament barring a disaster. The Englishman was not very reassuring in the first round, playing 74 (+2). It occupies the 105th place.