Adam Scott in action during round one – photo European Tour

It has been 16 years since Adam Scott last played the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in Surrey but, on his return today, he displayed the game which has witnessed him developing into one of the world’s leading players during that period.

Scott opened the European Tour’s flagship event with a round of 7 under par 65, a glorious short iron to just a foot at the last after finding the rough from the tee and being forced to lay up, setting up his eighth birdie of the day.

Scott finds himself just one behind the lead held by Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat and South Africa’s Christian Bezuidenhout and two clear of three players tied in 4th place at 5 under.

In just his 17th start of 2021, Scott’s year to date has been mediocre by his standards although a recent runner-up finish, a month ago at the Wyndham Championship, suggested things were improving. That finish allowed him into the first of the FedEx Cup Playoffs but that was as far as he could get in his quest for FedEx Cup riches after missing the cut at the Northern Trust Open.

The highlight of his round today came immediately after one of his lowlights. After thinking he had driven it out of bounds at the 15th, Scott found his ball and advanced it down the fairway and some 50 yards from the hole. From there he pitched in for birdie and, although he would bogey the next, it was a key moment in keeping the round going.

“I definitely thought the first ball was out-of-bounds but it must have clouded around in the trees and dropped down,” said Scott. “The second ball actually night not have been any better off the tee but found the first one and punched it up there. That was a good shot, hit it 50 yards and flicked it straight at the hole.

“Some days it’s your day out there, and it kind of felt like that a bit for me today. It was nice to make the most of it and shoot a good number.”

Scott is playing with his brother-in-law and coach Brad Malone on the bag this week and it is a case of so far so good for the combination.

“It worked good today, so we’ll see how the next three days go., added Scott. “But he’s caddied for me once before, and he likes getting in there and having a look and seeing what’s going on every once in a while on the course.

“It’s not been the easiest year on the course for me. I’ve struggled to get momentum going, unlike today. Maybe driver is the answer today.”

Of the other Australasians in the field, Ryan Fox and Wade Ormsby are at 1 over, Min Woo Lee at 3 over and Scott Hend at 6 over with the cut looking likely to fall around even par tomorrow.

Just a handful of players were stuck on the course when darkness stopped play and they will return tomorrow morning to complete round one.