• BMW PGA Championship

Bjorn aims to end Ryder Cup pain

ESPN staff
May 23, 2014
Thomas Bjorn finished the first round on 10 under. © PA Photos

Thomas Bjorn has set his sights on ending his 12-year wait for a playing place in the Ryder Cup after setting the pace in the BMW PGA Championship.

The Dane produced a round of 62 to equal Robert Karlson's course record on day one at Wentworth before adding a second-round 72 to remain in the lead at 10-under.

He is joined at the top by Shane Lowry, who carded a two-under par 70 which included five birdies, a bogey and a double bogey.

The pair lead Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Luke Donald by four - with the Englishman recording a round-of-the-day 67 thanks largely to six birdies and an eagle at the par-5 12th.

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Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson and Jonas Blixt all added 71s to their opening-day 68s to sit a shot further back.

But while the likes of Donald, McIlroy and Stenson are all but certain of spots in Paul McGinley's European team at Gleneagles, Bjorn is aiming to make the team for the first time since 2002.

"We all want to play in [the Ryder Cup]," said Bjorn, whose even-par 72 on Friday featured three birdies and three bogeys. "It would be a great achievement for me as it is 12 years since I was last in the team.

"I have watched a lot from the sidelines and that can hurt a little bit at times. I wanted to play in another Ryder Cup and I've got to stay focused and keep playing good golf to get there. I am determined to do that.

"I still think I need to do a lot more - there are a lot of guys playing great golf at the moment - there is a long way to go and some very big tournaments on the way."

Bjorn, 43, is third in the current Ryder Cup standings but last represented Europe in the Ryder Cup as a player in 2002. He has been a vice-captain three times since.

"I've just been determined to get myself to where I can play with the best in the world and I'll keep continuing to do that as long as my body allows me to," he said. "I enjoy being out here, which I probably didn't for a couple of years.

"It's very easy when you get past 40 to stop enjoying this after a long career. I have travelled with my golf clubs since I was 14 years old and sometimes you forget why you love the game and it becomes hard work."

McIlroy's troubles looked set to continue when he double-bogeyed the seventh at a rain-soaked Wentworth - a hole he eagled 24 hours earlier - but he recovered with a back-nine 33 that included an eagle at 12 and birdies at 15, 16 and 18.

"The way the conditions were this morning, being three-over par after seven wasn't all that bad and it wasn't disastrous," he said.

"I came back well on the back nine and holed a few putts which was nice to see and I'm in a good position going into the weekend."

Ian Poulter, who looked set to pull out of the tournament on Wednesday, carded a 72 to remain at two-under, where he is joined by Lee Westwood, while Justin Rose continues his bid to become world No.1 with a one-over 73 which saw him full to one-under for the Championship.

Defending champion Matteo Manassero was unable to recover from his opening-day 80. The young Italian was nine shots better off, but it was not enough to see him inside the cut line.

Also headed home early are Ryder Cup skipper McGinley, as are 2011 and 2012 Open champions Darren Clarke and Ernie Els.

Rory McIlroy's mind appeared to be elsewhere during the second round - but he remains in contention © Getty Images
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