After a 15 year break from the BMW PGA Championship Adam Scott returns with a bang

The Australian carded a 7-under-par 65, his lowest score at Wentworth and a tally bettered by only Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Christiaan Bezuidenhout in Thursday’s first round.

A lot has changed since Adam Scott last played in the European Tour's flagship event.

Back in 2006 Tony Blair was still Prime Minister, six-times bankrupt Donald Trump was flogging a living as a TV business expert, and the Wentworth estate was home to the likes of Russ Abbott rather than Russian oligarchs.

The West Course was different then, too - a bit like many of 2006's finest actors and actresses it's had a few facelifts in the meantime.

In the opinion of most of us, age treats a face better than any surgeon's knife, but 41-year-old Scott seems to like the golfing equivalent.

Back when he was a European Tour regular he visited Wentworth eight times, failing to reach the quarter-final stage in all three of his World Match Play visits and never logging a top 10 in five appearances at this championship.

html) */?>

Fifteen years on from those struggles, he warmed to the new shapes and contours, blazing four birdies either side of the turn and only a late dropped shot at the 16th cost him a share of the overnight lead alongside Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Christiaan Bezuidenhout.

"A lot of really good, very solid stuff," he said afterwards.

"Generally it was fairways and greens. There wasn't too much squirrelly stuff, although a couple of wedges could have been better.

"Then, at the 15th, I got out of jail and made an incredible birdie-3. I definitely thought the first ball was out-of-bounds, but it must have clouded around in the trees and dropped down.

"The second ball actually might not have been any better off the tee, but we found the first one and punched it up there. That was a good shot, flicked it straight at the hole.

"Nice to get a break and take advantage of it. Kind of felt like that a bit for me today."

html) */?>

He has coach Brad Malone on his bag this week.

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

Scott hopes that change can prompt an upswing on his fortunes after a season of struggles.

"It's not been the easiest year on the course for me," he admitted. "I've struggled to get momentum going, unlike today."

Can he maintain his first round form? Let's take a closer look.

Scott at Wentworth

In addition to not being generally strong, his second round record is particularly poor. He carded a Friday 69 on debut in 2001, but since then has signed for 76, 73, 74 and 77.

That hints at opposing him tomorrow.

Scott in the United Kingdom

He's made 25 starts in England with nine top 10s (no wins).

He's also made 25 appearances in Scotland with seven top 10s, including one victory at Gleneagles.

Those numbers can also be divided by linksland and inland. In the latter he's made 24 starts, with 10 top 10s and that win.

Scott in regular European Tour events

(Note: not including Majors or the World Golf Championship)

He's made 114 starts, with 44 top 10s, eight of them wins.

Those numbers compared to his efforts in England and Scotland highlights that he's delivered his best form on the European Tour away from the UK.

html) */?>

Scott in 2021

He's started 21 tournaments this calendar year and has landed just two top 10s.

The first was T10th at Torrey Pines in the Farmers Insurance Open and the second when he finished joint second in last month's Wyndham Championship (losing in a play-off).

What's been notable has been a distinct difficulty getting in-contention at halfway.

He was tied second after 36 holes at Torrey Pines, but his next best? T16th in the Honda Classic.

Scott with a quick start

He's been top five 69 times after 18 holes and that position has reaped 15 wins (in 19 of his 31 career wins he was T10th or better after 18 holes).

Conclusion

This is a different West Course to the one Scott has always played before and yet, all the same, you'd be a bit concerned that he's searching for a first top 10 here.

He's played most of his best golf in the UK on parkland venues, but then again his best European Tour golf has been in other countries.

He's also struggled to find himself in-contention at halfway this year and has a poor Friday record in the event.

Opposing him in round two looks the way to go.

The first of his playing partners is Justin Rose who opened with a 67 to lie just two shots back of Scott. The only problem with that is that Rose has gone backwards in eight of his last 10 seconds rounds at Wentworth, breaking 70 just twice and averaging 72.20.

The three-ball is completed with Matthew Fitzpatrick who carded a Thursday 72. He, however, average 70.00 in round two of the championship and shot a 65 last year.

He could be the bold play at ...

READ MORE: Stricker's Ryder Cup wildcards: Rookie error or Captain sensible?

Latest Golf Videos