There were a cluster of players a further shot back on 68 including British Open champion Henrik Stenson and his fellow Swede Alex Noren, the world number 13, as the field enjoyed ideal scoring conditions on a revamped West Course without ripping it to pieces.
VIRGINIA WATER, England May 25 Four-times major victor Ernie Els underlined why golf has a proud reputation for integrity and fair play by calling a two-shot penalty on himself at the BMW PGA Championship on Thursday.
And that means the 41-year-old does not want a repeat of 2013, when he missed the halfway cut at Wentworth but consoled himself with a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Monaco.
Howell was able get back to par with a birdie on 11 and another swiftly followed on the long 12th hole as the Swindon ace returned to red figures. I just played with what I had, and I think that was the key to success.
There was also a sub-air system put into the greens which will dry them out and enable them to go back to a firm and faster surface.
"I just felt uncomfortable by the way the ball came out".
Poulter's 14th and last appearance at Wentworth came three years ago before four-time Major victor Ernie Els, Tomas Bjorn and Paul McGinley made the most recent design tweaks. We have played on I think six or seven events have all been on Bermuda.
Els chipped in for eagle at the par five after he had checked for a plugged lie and replaced his ball by the green.
The £5million renovation programme started just eight days after Chris Wood's victory past year, with all 18 greens stripped of their old turf and reseeded with a new type of grass.
"I feel like I've been working hard on my swing", Carlsson said. "I don't think they were as good as everyone would have liked them to have been".
Twenty-nine bunkers have been removed and four greens, the 8th, 11th, 14th and 16th, have been rebuilt while another five have been revamped.
"I'm looking forward to seeing the changes", added Poulter. He began with 10 straight pars before making four birdies over his last eight holes.
Players and caddies wore black ribbons as a mark of respect to the victims of the terrorist attack in Manchester on Monday, with a minute's silence held at 11am.