VIRGINIA WATER, England — Leaders Peter Lawrie and David Drysdale each shot 6-under 66s Thursday at the BMW PGA Championship, leaving a frustrated top-ranked Rory McIlroy and his high-ranking rivals trailing after the first round.
McIlroy had five bogeys and a double bogey in his round of 74 to go with three birdies and an eagle. On the par-5, 12th he hurled his club after a poor provisional shot, which came after he sent his second shot out of bounds en route to a bogey 6.
“It’s pretty disappointing,” said McIlroy, whose No. 1 ranking is under threat from Luke Donald this week. “I feel like I’m playing well, I just need to go out there and shoot a score.”
Lawrie had four birdies and an eagle in an error-free round and the 291st-ranked Drysdale had seven birdies and a bogey in good weather at Wentworth.
Jamie Donaldson and Justin Rose had 67s, while second-ranked Donald joined a group two shots back after a 68.
McIlroy could be fined should his actions be deemed against the European Tour’s guidelines on course etiquette.
“I have not yet had the chance to view the incident but I will be requesting a tape and if any breach … is found, then appropriate action will be taken in due course,” tournament director David Garland said.
McIlroy said his club-throwing outburst on the 12th, one of four par 5s on the course, was simply a release of frustration.
“You think about the par 5s and you should be taking advantage there,” he said. “Standing on the first tee, 3 or 4 under is the worst you should be shooting.”
The par 5s weren’t the problem — he eagled No. 4 and birdied No. 17. Putting that let him down, especially around the turn where he dropped four shots in five holes, culminating in the error-ridden showing on No. 12.
“I struggled with the pace of the greens,” said McIlroy, who has had to adjust to the slowness of the putting surfaces after being based in the United States.
His missed cut at The Players Championship two weeks ago was the first time he failed to make the weekend in 23 tournaments.
His consistent run helped him to the top of the rankings for the first time in March thanks to a win at the Honda Classic and again in April. On both occasions, he replaced Donald.
However, at the BMW PGA Championship, he has only one top-10 finish in four previous tournaments.