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A cart path very nearly derailed Shane Lowry's opening round at Wentworth

The 29-year-old bounced back to put himself in a good position at the PGA Championship.

Lowry pushed his tee-shot out of bounds on the 14th.
Lowry pushed his tee-shot out of bounds on the 14th.
Image: John Walton

SHANE LOWRY CARDED two late birdies to surge into contention at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

The Offaly man recovered from a double bogey on the par-three 14th to finish with a flurry and record a first round 69 at the European Tour’s flagship event.

Lowry sits in a tie for sixth after the morning starters took advantage of the favourable scoring conditions with Australia’s Scott Hend the early pace-setter.

He heads the field with an opening seven-under par 65, four clear of Lowry, while two-time champion Luke Donald put himself in the hunt with a 68.

Lowry started strongly and had three birdies before the turn but then dropped a shot on 13th before disaster struck on the next.

leaderboard Source: EuropeanTour

A poor bunker shot on 13th proved costly and on the 14th his six-iron off the tee was pushed and a unfortunate bounce off a cart path saw the ball go out of bounds.

He was forced to trudge back to the tee before subsequently missing the bogey putt by a fraction.

It was a hole which could have derailed his challenge, even at this early stage, but the world number 36 showed admirable resolve to regain his composure and repair some of the damage on 15 and 18.

“I really felt like I needed to hole it on 18th for it to be a good day,” Lowry told Sky Sports.

“I’m a little bit disappointed because I thought I played good, obviously I made a bad bogey on 13 and hit an awful tee-shot on 14 but got a bit unlucky, it bounced on the cart path and went out of bounds.

“But that’s the way my golf is going at the minute, I don’t feel like I’m getting enough out of my rounds but hopefully that putt will give me a bit of a kick on for the rest of the summer.”

Hend was out in 31 and had a chance of going even lower but he could only par the final two holes, both par-fives although his birdie putt lipped out at the last from 35 feet.

With half the field still out on the course, Hend finished with eight birdies and the only blemish in his round came at the par-four 15th.

He accelerated after the turn with birdies at the 10th, 12th and 13th but had course specialist Donald breathing down his neck, although the Englishman gave back a shot when he left his ball in a bunker on the 15th.

2016 BMW PGA Championship - Day One - Wentworth Club Danny Willett putts during the first round. Source: John Walton

Graeme McDowell has made a bright start, birding two of his first eight holes, while Paul McGinley is level par.

Elsewhere, last year’s winner Byeong Hun An of South Korea had a run of four birdies from the fourth, to head the leaderboard, but he dropped four shots in seven holes from the 10th, to slip back to level par, where he finished.

Masters champion Danny Willett, Lee Westwood and Matthew Fitzpatrick are amongst the afternoon starters at Wentworth.

With reporting from AFP

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Ryan Bailey

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