Hansen struggles around Wentworth's 'brutal' new designs
Anders Hansen described Wentworth's remodelled West Course as "brutal" after the double champion at the venue launched his PGA Championship campaign with a level-par 71 yesterday. Ernie Els, the three-time champion, has masterminded extensive alterations to the leafy layout on the outskirts of London which has left few of the 18 holes untouched. "He wanted a difficult course and he's got a difficult course," Hansen said after his round. "If the wind blows the course is going to be brutal. I mean it's brutal now because you get really penalised if you miss the fairways."
The Dane, who won the European Tour's flagship event three years ago and also in 2002, made a good start as two birdies helped him reach the turn in 33, two under par. The 39-year-old then came unstuck with a double-bogey six at the par-four 13th. "The changes are making it very difficult," he added. "Today the weather is perfect and the conditions are perfect but the scores aren't that good so it just goes to show how difficult it is out there.
"Twice I found a bunker and could only chip out. At the 13th I didn't get it out and it cost me a double-bogey." New bunkers have been added to stop big hitters dominating the course and the tough par-five 18th has been significantly altered to present an even more formidable closing hole. With a new moat at the front of a reshaped green ready to gobble up anything short, the players will now be taking a risk by trying to make the putting surface in two at a hole that always used to yield a fair share of eagle threes.
England's Danny Willett took an early lead in the event as he struck nine birdies during a six under par round of 65. He holds a one-shot lead over Richard Green of Australia with England's Ross Fisher another shot back in third. * Agencies
Published: May 21, 2010 04:00 AM