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Ace helps Pepperell claim share of British Masters lead

WALTON HEATH, England (AP) — Eddie Pepperell recorded a hole-in-one on the way to claiming a share of the lead on 5-under 67 after the first round of the British Masters on Thursday, while tournament host Justin Rose struggled to a 74.

Fellow Englishmen Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Wallace also shot 67s on a windy day at the Walton Heath course on the outskirts of London. The first hole-in-one of Pepperell's career came in spectacular style as his 5-iron from 172 yards on the 9th hit the bottom of the flag and bounced high in the air away from the hole before spinning back into the cup.

"It was a bizarre shot from where I was standing," he said. "I played awful in the pro-am on Wednesday, probably the worst I have in a while, and I wouldn't say I played great today but ... it's great to be at the top with Matt and Tommy."

Pepperell produced a superb run around the turn because he also had an eagle at the 11th and birdies at the 7th and 10th. Fleetwood's round was not without incident, his only bogey coming after an errant tee shot on the par-3 17th finished in a cup holder in a buggy situated to the left of the green.

"I'm still not sure how it got there," said Fleetwood, who outscored playing partner and Ryder Cup team mate Francesco Molinari by six strokes. "Luckily it didn't go in the beer in the other cup holder because it would have ruined a drink and the golf ball."

Wallace had set the clubhouse target earlier in the day as he seeks a fifth win on his 50th European Tour start, and fourth victory of the season. Rose, who started his round at the 10th, went out in 37 before mixing four bogeys on his back nine with three birdies.

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