Marcus Helligkilde takes early lead at BMW PGA Championship

Marcus Helligkilde - TheGolfingHub
Marcus Helligkilde of Denmark lines up his putt on the 18th green during Day One of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Golf Club in Virginia Water, England. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

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.

Related: Shane Lowry back to Wentworth, his ‘favourite place in world’

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.

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.


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Player Quotes

Marcus Helligkilde: “I did it by hitting it terrible on the range, and as my coach says, I asked him, what should I do, and he’s like, yeah, you’re probably going to play great. So that was what happened.

“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. 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.”

Matt Fitzpatrick: “It was a good day. Felt like I played really well. Drove the ball really well. Just gave myself plenty of chances and putted well. Overall, it was a really solid day.

“I think the greens are maybe a hair firmer than they have been the last couple years. Obviously like you say, the rough’s up. I think it’s a little bit longer in places than it should be but you know, the golf course is in fantastic shape. It really is. Every year we come here, it seems to get better, and I just think, you know, the setup the Tour have putt for us is second-to-none.

“It’s lovely. It’s really nice. The English golf fans I feel like know the game so well. Just, you know, they applaud a good shot and poor shots you know about it, too. So yeah, it’s great to be here.”

Richie Ramsay: “It’s obviously a beautiful day. A course that like a lot of guys, I grew up watching on TV. You feel like you know the back nine before you’ve even played the course for the first time.

“The sun came out, and yeah, it’s a place that I love coming back to. It’s got all the ingredients that make it a great tournament and there’s a big incentive for guys to play well, looking at the Race to Dubai and where you want to play next year, and just happy to play well.

“But a lot of the credit has got to go to Ian Rae because I was in not a great place a few weeks ago, and we were in a discussion about where I was, what I was doing with my swing. I was kind of a little bit lost if Switzerland, and it was actually good I missed the cut. It gave me a weekend to figure things out, and that’s definitely shown from today’s performance.”

Shane Lowry: “Not bad. I got off to a great stat start, was three-under through seven. Love this place. See my way around here quite nicely. A couple of bogeys around the turn which wasn’t great. But finished all rate. I would have liked to birdie one of last two holes. I think the course is playing a little bit more difficult this year. There’s a lot more rough and a little bit firmer. So 3-under is not a bad score.

“Yeah, there’s a bit of Ryder Cup chat between us but it’s enjoyable. We all played pretty nicely. It’s nice to be in the sun around Wentworth in big crowds. Tommy being the hometown hero, it’s so nice. It was a nice treat this morning and look forward to tomorrow.”