Justin Rose Rose, Broadhurst first round leaders at BMW PGA Championship

It was a day for the Englishmen.

Local favorites Justin Rose and Paul Broadhurst are the first round leaders at the European PGA Tour's BMW PGA Championship at the Wentworth Club in Surrey, England, both posting six-under-par 66s.

Another Brit, Simon Khan, is one shot back, as is world No. 5 Ernie Els at 3-under.

"I putted really, really well today," Rose told reporters. "I hit very few putts in practice but every time the putter felt really, really good in my hands. That's why I haven't too much time working on it.

"I think the greens were great in the morning and obviously in the afternoon, the poa annua grass means they tend to get slightly more bobbly. So having holed so many putts this afternoon was a bonus. I guess I entered the round with not so much confidence, but a kind of excitement really to be playing again," Rose said.

Said Broadhurst: "Sixty-six is the best score I have had here and it certainly took long enough to pull one out. It's one of the best putting rounds I have ever had."

Rose birdied five holes on the front nine, but gave two shots back to the field with bogeys at the par-4 third and par-4 ninth. Rose's backside saw another three birdies.

Broadhurst also birdied five holes on the front nine. He dropped a shot with a bogey at the par-4 ninth, but rebounded with another birdie on the par-4 11th. In all he posted seven birdies.

Els could easily be on the top of the leaderboard, but the Big Easy struggled on the front nine with bogeys at the par-4 first, par-4 seventh and a double bogey at the par-4 ninth (a hole that was playing difficult all day). Those slip-ups neutralized three front nine birdies, but Els stormed back with five birdies on the home stretch.

Other notables in contention are Padraig Harrington, winner of last week's Irish Open, who is at 3-under and Jose Marie Olazabal and Colin Montgomerie, both at 2-under-par.

May 24, 2007

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