Scott makes fine start in PGA at Wentworth

Adam Scott has made a fine start in his bid to win the European Tour's PGA Championship, chipping in for a spectacular birdie in his opening 65 at Wentworth.

ADAM SCOTT Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Adam Scott has cut a rejuvenated figure at the PGA Championship, shooting a brilliant seven-under-par opening round of 65 in the European Tour's flagship event at Wentworth.

The last time the 41-year-old had competed in England in July's British Open at Sandwich, he ended up cutting a dejected figure after finishing 46th, saying he was fed up with playing "mediocre golf" and effectively writing off the rest of his season.

Yet since then, Scott has delivered his best performance of the year while losing the Wyndham Championship in the US in a playoff, and he continued his renaissance with a spectacular morning round on Wentworth's famed West Course.

In his first appearance at the Championships since 2004, Scott made a dramatic start, plonking his tee shot at the short second just four inches from the hole, the first of his eight birdies on a perfect autumn morning.

The highlight of his round came at the 15th after he had looked in big trouble following a wayward drive only to hack back on to the fairway and then chip in from 52 yards, offering an almost embarrassed shrug as he walked to the green.

After his only bogey of the round at the next hole, he responded brilliantly with birdies at the final two holes, and he nearly holed from the fairway again with his approach to the par-five 18th.

His morning heroics left him just one shot off the lead held by Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who also nailed eight birdies in his flawless 64, including seven during a remarkable inward nine which he covered in just 30.

The former Masters champ, who first competed at the PGA at Wentworth 20 years ago, is seeking to become the third Australian winner after Mike Harwood in 1990 and Rodger Davis in 1986.

"I've been feeling like I've been playing well and that's one of the reasons why I came here this week," he explained after his round.

"I didn't have anything to play in the last couple of weeks so I felt like this was a great opportunity to come and play a really good event and bring back good memories from early days in my career."

With much of the attention at the West Course centred on the final battle to secure European Ryder Cup places, Scott enjoyed playing alongside former US Open champ Justin Rose, who shot a fine 67.

Five European players -- Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Viktor Hovland and Paul Casey -- have already booked their places for the contest against the US which takes place at Whistling Straits later this month, with regular Ryder Cupper Rose a potential pick for captain Padraig Harrington.