Skip to main content

World No. 1 McIlroy toils at Wentworth as Donald makes solid start

May 24, 2012 -- Updated 2058 GMT (0458 HKT)
World No. 1 Rory McIlroy struggled on the opening day of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth
World No. 1 Rory McIlroy struggled on the opening day of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • World No. 1 Rory McIlroy toils on the opening day of the BMW PGA Championship
  • Northern Irishman hurls club at one stage as he cards a round of two-over-par
  • Luke Donald can usurp McIlroy's top ranking this week and he sits on four-under
  • David Drysdale and Peter Lawrie lead after the first day on six-under

(CNN) -- World No. 1 Rory McIlroy lost his cool in the midst of a heatwave at the BMW PGA Championship as Luke Donald stepped up his challenge to usurp the 2011 U.S. Open champion at the top of the rankings.

McIlroy, from Northern Ireland, struggled to a two-over-par round of 74 on the opening day at the Wentworth course while Donald, the defending champion, sits within striking distance of the leaders on four-under.

Donald can regain the No. 1 spot with victory at the tournament and must finish in the top eight to have a chance of overtaking McIlroy. His six birdies helped him into a tie for eighth place.

Scotland's David Drysdale and Ireland's Peter Lawrie lead on six-under after day one with England's Justin Rose and Alavaro Quiros, from Spain, in a group of five players one shot back.

Donald targets No. 1 spot after European Tour award

McIlroy's round included a run of four bogeys in five holes and at one stage he hurled a club to the floor in frustration after a poor shot.

I feel like I'm playing pretty well, I just need to go out there and shoot a score
Rory McIlroy

"It's a bit of deja vu from last year," he told reporters. "I kept getting off to good starts and sort of making a few bogeys around the turn and not getting any momentum back.

"Two under through seven, feel like I'm playing well, then I make four bogeys in five holes. It's pretty disappointing and I feel like I'm playing pretty well, I just need to go out there and shoot a score."

McIlroy's compatriot Graeme McDowell's round turned sour shortly after he'd walked off the 18th green as his ball was shown to have moved prior to hitting his second shot from the rough on the closing hole.

The 2010 U.S. Open champion was unaware the ball had moved and he was penalised two strokes -- one for not replacing the ball into its original position and one for striking it from the wrong place.

It turned his round of level par into a round of two-over. He told reporters: "How are you supposed to attempt to place the ball when you're not sure it's moved in the first place? It's just a harsh one -- one of those freak scenarios in golf.

"It's my fault. I probably should have called for a referee. That would have saved me one shot, but what are you supposed to do -- the whole area was sort of bouncing.

"I was aware of it and asked for it to be looked at. The rules are there for everybody's protection."

Three-time major champion Ernie Els, from South Africa, is on four-under and compatriot Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, finished on three-under.

Former world No. 1 Lee Westwood, who was beaten by Donald in a playoff at last year's tournament, birdied the last to finish two-under.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 8, 2014 -- Updated 1424 GMT (2224 HKT)
From Seve's "spine-shivering" moment to Jack Nicklaus' "perfect explosion," David Cannon has captured many of golf's defining images.
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1320 GMT (2120 HKT)
They came home as casualties of war -- physically shattered and mentally broken. But golf is proving to be an unlikely salvation for U.S. veterans.
August 5, 2014 -- Updated 1231 GMT (2031 HKT)
You are the one hitting the shots, but the man standing over your shoulder could hold the key to your golfing destiny.
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1227 GMT (2027 HKT)
PINEHURST, NC - JUNE 10: Rory McIlroy (R) of Northern Ireland talks with his dad Gerry McIlroy (L) during a practice round prior to the start of the 114th U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, Course No. 2 on June 10, 2014 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
He has been there for all three of his son's major wins, but the latest triumph may well have been the sweetest yet for Rory McIlroy's father.
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 1218 GMT (2018 HKT)
The next generation of golfers just keeps on getting younger. "They have the confidence to perform against their idols," says one ex-prodigy.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 1159 GMT (1959 HKT)
He was Spain's ultimate matador and golf's greatest escape artist.
June 18, 2014 -- Updated 1536 GMT (2336 HKT)
Rory McIlroy has announced he wants to represent Ireland at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Two-time major champion Rory McIlroy declares he'll represent Ireland at the Rio Olympics, not Great Britain.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 0248 GMT (1048 HKT)
Already admired by Annika Sorenstam and with a bucketful of talent, New Zealand's Lydia Ko has the world of golf at her feet.
April 28, 2014 -- Updated 1130 GMT (1930 HKT)
Mike O'Connor, UK FootGolf
Like footie? Partial to a bit of golf? Then you'll love FootGolf. The sport's growing fan base includes a host of former English Premier League stars.
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 1343 GMT (2143 HKT)
Golfers at at Barkway Park don't seem to concerned and have been taking pictures and videos of the bird when it appears on the greens and fairways.
A runaway ostrich-like bird hiding near an English golf course has caused quite a stir. Some say it's dangerous, while others are cashing in.
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
Eagles may be thin on the ground for most golfers at the Bear Trace course at Harrison Bay. But up in the treetops, it's a different matter.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1754 GMT (0154 HKT)
When someone tells you to go jump in a lake, sometimes it's best to take their advice. "I've never been so scared," says golfer Pablo Larrazabal.
ADVERTISEMENT