Ryder Cup postponed until 2021 due to COVID-19
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Justin Rose has looked to give his Ryder Cup chances a huge boost after posting a bogeyless, five-under-par 67 in the opening round of the BMW PGA Championship.
This week’s event at Wentworth is the final chance for the Europeans to either squeeze into the automatic qualification spots, or impress captain Padraig Harrington for a wildcard selection.
Whilst Rose’s chances of automatic qualification are slim, his day one score of five-under has moved him in the right direction for a captain’s pick, as he currently sits in a tie for fourth on the leaderboard, following the completion of the early starting featured groups.
Following a disappointing campaign in America that saw him miss the FedEx Cup play-offs after finishing outside of the top 125 in the standings, Rose headed back to his native land in a bid to impress captain Harrington one last time before Europe’s team is selected.
And, his return to the UK started off perfectly, as he picked up an early birdie on the par three second, at the famous Wentworth course.
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The 2013 US Open champion then went on to card back-to-back birdies on the fifth and sixth, adding another on the par five 12th to make an early move up the Rolex Series event leaderboard.
With no blemishes on the card, Rose topped off his superb opening round with yet another birdie four at the famous final hole on the Surrey course to leave him at the right end of the standings in the early stages.
Speaking after his superb start, and his Ryder Cup chances, he said: “Obviously all eyes are on me now which is great. That’s a good start where I can focus on the positive scenario, which is me winning the tournament to get into the team by rights, which is plan A.
Plan B is all of the other stuff. I didn’t quite appreciate all of the scenarios that were still in play this week, with so many players so there is a lot to shake out over these next couple of days.”
One man who is also hoping to secure his Ryder Cup spot is Bernd Wiesberger, who only needs a top 50 finish to ensure one of the nine qualification spots, as he eyes his debut in Europe’s blue and gold.
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It seemed the simpleness of Wiesberger’s qualification was going to be put into question following the Austrain’s opening nine holes of the event, after three frustrating bogeys left him three-over-par through nine holes.
However, the 35-year-old showed the exact grit and determination that is needed to compete in a Ryder Cup, bouncing back following the turn with two birdies and an all-important eagle at the last to leave him comfortably at one-under for the event.
The player the whole field is chasing following the beginning of day one is early pace setter Kiradech Aphibarnrat, whose magnificent eight-under-par 64 saw him move straight to the top following his day one round.
Like Rose, the Thai golfer came off the 18th green with no bogeys on the card, however it was his electric back nine to thank for his morning session lead.
After picking up one birdie on the front, Aphibarnrat went on to birdie seven of his last nine holes following the turn to come away with a remarkable eight-under 64, making him the early solo leader.
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