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Wallace powers into Wentworth lead

Matt Wallace fired a brilliant bogey free 65 to delight the home fans and take a one shot lead after the first round of the BMW PGA Championship.

Matt Wallace

On a glorious day in front of huge crowds at Wentworth Golf Club, a world class field was gathered for the fourth Rolex Series event of the 2019 Race to Dubai and Wallace got to seven under to head the pack.

Rolex Series specialist Jon Rahm and Major Champion Henrik Stenson were one back, a shot clear of Justin Rose - a man who has both Major and Rolex Series triumphs on his CV.

Wallace is still looking to take that next step but he has four European Tour titles to his name and has seen a meteoric rise in the last two years take him to 26th in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Another excellent season sees him sit fourth in the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex and after moving to nearby Sunningdale earlier this year, he feels comfortable around the West Course at European Tour HQ.

"It's the flagship event of the European Tour," he said. "Biggest event.

"I've played the course plenty of times before coming into this week and feel comfortable and it always helps when your game's in shape, as well.

"It's just good every week. It's not just about this week, it's about the bigger picture in the future.

"I just want to play better and I want to keep getting better and put myself in positions to win tournaments. It's a good start. We've got a long way to go, though."

After a birdie on the first, the 29-year-old eagled the par five fourth to share the lead and then put his tee shot to three feet on the par three next to hit the front on his own.

A nine footer on the sixth pushed him two ahead and while the field kept chase, birdies from 15 feet on the 11th and 17th maintained a two shot advantage when he walked off the last.

Stenson holed a long right to lefter on the fourth, a tap-in on the fifth and put approaches inside ten feet on the seventh and eighth to turn in 31.

Another gain on the 12th was cancelled out on the 15th but when the Swede eagled from the fringe on the last, he was within one.

Wallace and Stenson had the top of the leaderboard to themselves for most of the afternoon but playing partners Rahm and Rose set about chasing them down.

The Spaniard was still well back when he made three birdies and a bogey on the front nine to turn in 33 but came to life in a grandstand finish.

The three time Rolex Series winner holed a long putt on the 14th and then hit smart approaches into the 15th and 16th to make it a hat-trick of birdies.

He had to settle for a par on the par five 17th but got on the final green in two for a birdie and a 66.

Rose birdied the fourth and eighth before giving a shot back on the ninth but added further gains on the 11th, 12th and 16th and played a stunning, deft chip on the last for a closing birdie.

Paul Casey - the 2009 champion - was in a share of second before double-bogeying the last to slip to four under alongside fellow Englishman Danny Willett, South African trio Christiaan Bezuidenhout, George Coetzee and Ernie Els, Scotland's Scott Jamieson, Dutchman Joost Luiten, Italy's Andrea Pavan and Swede Sebastian Soderberg.

Defending champion Francesco Molinari was then in a large group of players at three under.

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