Stenson In Striking Distance At BMW PGA Championship

VIRGINIA WATER, England Little-known Swede Johan Carlsson took full advantage of the new improved greens at Wentworth by firing a pacesetting six-under 66 in the first round of the $7 million (5.4 million pounds) BMW PGA Championship on Thursday. The ball was so buried that the four-time major victor signaled to his playing partners that he was going to mark his ball to identify it. Els replaced it and proceeded to chip in for eagle.

European golf faces a major shake up if the USA changes the date of their PGA Championship, according to chief Keith Pelley.

Despite the penalty, Els sits five shots off the opening-round lead held by Sweden's Johan Carlsson.

The 30-year-old picked up five strokes in a blistering outward half of 30 before three back-nine birdies were partially offset by bogeys at the 10th and 18th.

England's Justin Rose, the 2013 US Open Champion and world number nine, got off to a sticky start with a bogey at the first and another at the third before he clawed a shot back at the par-five fourth and another at the ninth.

'I don't think I saw a spike mark all day, ' he said.

"It's not a golf course I've found too easy in the past, but they have revamped it". "Next week we'll be playing the Memorial and I think these greens are running just as good or better than the Memorial, or Augusta for that matter". The renovation program started eight days after Chris Wood's victory past year, with all 18 greens stripped of their old turf and reseeded.

Prior to hitting his chip shot off the edge of the 12th green, Els thought he may have a plugged lie and asked his playing partners if he could investigate.

"I wish I could take them up and put the old ones back", he said.

Poulter's 14th and last appearance at Wentworth came three years ago before four-time Major victor Ernie Els, Tomas Bjorn and Paul McGinley made the most recent design tweaks.

"It's something you want to be in at the end of the year but you've got to play well first of all".

"Having had a reaction to my earlier rib injury, I have been advised to take a conservative approach to my recovery which unfortunately means I have to withdraw from the BMW PGA Championship next week", said McIlroy.

"I am hoping to win this week and then I am in", Poulter told reporters at Wentworth. On the front nine he scratched nine straight pars before he ticked 11, 12, 15 and 18 on the way home.

Several competitors wore black ribbons in tribute to the 22 people killed after the suicide bombing in Manchester earlier this week.