Adam Scott has continued his rejuvenation at the BMW PGA Championship, shooting a brilliant seven-under-par opening round of 65 as he launched his bid to win the European Tour's flagship event at Wentworth.
The last time the 41-year-old had competed in England in July's Open Championship at Sandwich, he ended up cutting a dejected figure after finishing 46th, saying he was fed up with playing "mediocre golf" and seeming to almost write off the rest of his season.
But back at Wentworth for the prestigious championship in which he first competed 20 years ago, there was nothing mediocre about Scott's spectacular opening round on Thursday, which featured eight birdies – headed by perhaps the most unlikely that he could ever recall.
It left the former Masters champ just a shot off the first round lead shared by Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who enjoyed an immaculate bogey-free morning round, and South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout, who holed a monster putt on the last in the afternoon to seal his 64.
RIGHT: Aphibarnrat made seven birdies on the back nine to grab a share of the lead just a few days removed from regaining his PGA Tour card. PHOTO: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.
It also continued a welcome revival which saw Scott come perilously close to picking up his first title of the year at the Wyndham Championship on the PGA Tour last month when he missed a short putt which would have seen him win a six-man playoff.
In his first appearance at the PGA since 2004 on Wentworth's famed West Course, Scott made his intentions clear quickly on a perfect autumn morning, firing his tee shot at the short par-3 second just four inches from the hole.
But the highlight came at the 15th after he had looked in huge trouble following a wayward drive but somehow escaped to find the fairway and then holed out from 52 yards, leading him to offer an almost embarrassed shrug as he walked to the green.
Asked if it had been the most unlikely birdie he'd ever made, Scott smiled: "It could be, I couldn't tell you another one!
"Overall, there was lots of good stuff, a couple of wedges I'd like to forget quickly, but the rest was really good, really solid. I did everything fairly well." - Adam Scott.
"I got a good break on 15. It looked like I was about to make a seven or eight when I was leaving the tee box, but somehow I made a three. You've got to take your breaks when you get 'em.
"Overall, there was lots of good stuff, a couple of wedges I'd like to forget quickly, but the rest was really good, really solid. I did everything fairly well."
After his only bogey at the 16th, Scott responded with birdies at the final two holes, nearly holing from the fairway again with his third to the par-five 18th.
The former Masters champ, who first competed at the PGA at Wentworth 20 years ago, is seeking to become the third Australian winner after Mike Harwood in 1990 and Rodger Davis in 1986.
The rest of the Aussie challenge, though, proved a disappointment with Scottish Open winner Min Woo Lee shooting a three-over 75, Wade Ormsby a one-over 73 and veteran Scott Hend a six-over 78.
Aphibarnrat recorded seven birdies over a remarkable inward nine which he covered in just 30, while Bezuidenhout shot 30 over his first nine.
With much of the attention centred on the final battle to secure European Ryder Cup places, Scott enjoyed playing alongside one of the contenders, former U.S. Open champ Justin Rose, who's joint-fourth with his fellow Englishman Laurie Canter and Japan's Masahiro Kawamura after a 67.