SUTTON COLDFIELD, England(AP) Marcus Fraser and Mikael Lundberg each shot 5-under 67 Thursday to share the first-round lead of the British Masters at The Belfry.
Defending champion Lee Westwood was one stroke back, showing few signs of jet lag after his return from the United States after the Ryder Cup loss. He was joined by Marc Warren, Sam Walker, Anders Hansen and Rafa Echenique.
Thomas Bjorn shot a 69 after a 10-week layoff because of a shoulder injury. The Dane, who developed the injury at the Scottish Open in July, said he was surprised by his good form.
“I expected to shoot a couple of 78s, practice for the weekend and get ready for next week,” he said. “But my short game was good today and I made a couple of early birdies.”
Fraser made the turn at 5-under 31. He bogeyed the 11th and 12th holes of the Brabazon Course, which has hosted four Ryder Cups, then birdied No. 15 and 16.
Bjorn joined a group of seven two shots back, including Michael Campbell and Jeev Milka Singh.
Graeme McDowell, who also played in the Ryder Cup, shot 72.
Darren Clarke, who was passed over by captain Nick Faldo for the Ryder Cup, shot 80 on a course where he has never performed well. Colin Montgomerie, another high-profile Ryder Cup reject, shot 81.
Bjorn, chairman of the European Tour Tournament Committee that appoints the Ryder Cup captain, would not say who might succeed Faldo. He said the matter would be discussed early next year.
“We’re not in any rush and we’ve decided to let the dust settle on this one first,” Bjorn said.
Bjorn ruled himself out as a candidate, although he’s been mentioned along with Ian Woosnam, Jose Maria Olazabal and Sandy Lyle.
“I’m only 37 and I have to focus on my playing career,” Bjorn said. “I’ve seen the comments and I’m grateful for them, and if I’m captain one day it would be an honor.”