“You don’t plan for that kind of start,” he said. “I hit some solid shots early on and then on the par five I made a really long putt and it was a good boost for me.”
The 33-year-old who grew up playing in his back garden was on song at the home of the European Tour and reached the clubhouse on five-under-par before heavy storms forced a delay in play. Walters was on the right side of the draw and missed the bad weather.
“For me it’s an amazing score. Last year the weather wasn’t quite as good, but I shot something like five-over for the first round, so I’ve turned it around quite a lot,” he said before the clouds rolled in.
On Thursday, 2013 Nedbank Golf Challenge winner Thomas Bjorn put on a display at Wentworth, which celebrated its 30th year as host of the European Tour’s PGA Championship. The Dane carded 62 to match the course record, set a new low score against par, and claimed the lead.
Bjorn turned in 32 and looked good, but his second loop was truly magical. Birdies at the 10th and 11th led up to an eagle three at the 12th, which came courtesy of a superb three-wood from the fairway. The ball stopped level distance with the cup and five feet to the right, and Bjorn boxed the putt for a three-shot lead. He rattled in further birdie putts at the 14th and 16th, chose to lay up for a final birdie at the 18th, and signed for 10-under-par.
Irishman Shane Lowry took up second on eight-under, with Walters sole third. Henrik Stenson, Martin Kaymer and David Horsey finished in four-under-par 68.
Walters was pleased to sign for 67 at such a tough track.
“I got comfortable and managed to take the round as it came. We were looking at two-under per day here, so to go five-under in the first day is a bonus,” he said. “It’s a special week on tour and hopefully I can continue to play like I have.”