World Number Three Ernie Els shot a flawless opening eight under par 64, his lowest round in the Volvo PGA Championship at Wentworth Club, to establish an early lead over a chasing pack that includes defending champion Ignacio Garrido.
Els has now broken par in his last eight first rounds in the Volvo PGA Championship as he seeks his first win after three second places and five top four finishes in his eight previous appearances.
“It was a good start to the tournament,” said Els, who was presented with the Harry Vardon Trophy for winning the 2003 Volvo Order of Merit at the Tour Dinner on Tuesday night. “I kept it in play, got a lot of opportunities and made some putts. The fourth hole was the only mistake where I three putted.”
Whilst South African Els set the pace with his eight birdie round, his playing partners Garrido of Spain and local favourite Paul Casey of England pushed him all the way, the three ball shooting a combined 17 under par with Garrido carding a 67 and Casey dropping a shot on the last for a 68.
Garrido, whose opening 67 matches his lowest round of the season to date, was joined on five under par by Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, making his debut in the Volvo PGA Championship, and Australian Richard Green.