Justin Rose dispelled fears over an injured knee as he recorded a five-under-par 67 in the first round of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
Rose, who cancelled his media duties on Tuesday and pulled out of Wednesday’s Pro-Am, sits just two shots behind leader Matt Wallace after his fellow Englishman set the early pace with a stunning 65.
Home favourites Danny Willett and Paul Casey also enjoyed a successful Thursday, both shooting 68, but it was perhaps most pleasing for fans to see Rose unhampered by his knee.
Earlier in the week, Rose released a statement, indicating a cautious approach to his week’s preparation.
“Last Thursday I slipped and jarred my knee,” the world number four said.
“Since then I have been getting treatment on the injury and I have been working hard with Justin Buckthorp and my medical team away from the course in order to ensure I am able to play in this week’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.”
After reaching the turn one-under-par, Rose certainly seemed in good spirits.
He cheekily crashed playing partner Jon Rahm’s Sky Sports interview on the 11th hole to taunt the Spaniard’s length off the tee, before jogging past the cameras without any sign of discomfort.
Rose then negotiated a tricky downhill lie by the greenside bunker on 15, showing great strength to flop it close from a very awkward stance.
A clutch up-and-down there would set the platform for a birdie at the last to sit fourth in the leaderboard.
Rose, who lost in a playoff here in 2007, will be desperate to go one better this week, and after limited preparation will be delighted with this start.