The ups and downs are all part and parcel of this game of fluctuating fortunes.

Poring over Peter Whiteford's recent record on the European Tour is about as uplifting as reading one of Rory McIlroy's torn up wedding invitations.

"The last eight months is as bad as I've played in my entire life, to be honest," said the Fifer after opening his challenge in the BMW PGA Championship with a steady two-under 70.

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Following a share of second place in the Ballantine's Championship in Korea in April 2013, Whiteford has been on a bit of a slippery slope. Since his last top-10 finish, in the Irish Open last June, the 33-year-old has made just five cuts in 23 events.

In order to remedy the situation, the former Challenge Tour winner has gone back to the old routine. "I'm back with my original coach, Donald McKay, who has been with me since the start really," said Whiteford.

"We've sorted out the irons so far but it's pretty much aim and close your eyes with the driver. The problem is I don't have a safe shot and it's a bit nerve wracking like that. It makes it exciting but perhaps not particularly enjoyable. There are more downs than ups in this game but I think it's on the mend now."

Whiteford finished seventh here at Wentworth in 2011 and a three-birdie round, which featured a series of missed chances, has given him hope that better things are around the corner. "It would be a good tournament to kick back into form," he said. "I like this course and I can see good scores around it."

Whiteford was joined on the two-under mark by Richie Ramsay, Craig Lee and Stephen Gallacher. Paul Lawrie, runner-up here in 2012, opened with a 72.

n Catriona Matthew led the way in the first round of the Airbus LPGA Classic in Mobile, Alabama yesterday after an opening round of eight-under-par 64.

The Scot was the early clubhouse leader, two strokes ahead of Ji Eun-Hee of Korea and the USA's Stacy Lewis, after a prolific start in which she bagged five birdies on the front nine.

Matthew's only transgression, a bogey at the 12th, was followed by an eagle three at the 13th.