THE show goes on. The resumption of play in the BMW PGA Championship was widely embraced; the tributes to Queen Elizabeth II respectfully delivered.

In this leafy corner of Surrey, a little bit of normality returned amid the national mourning. Her Majesty would, no doubt, have had more interest in the St Leger at Doncaster than proceedings unfolding over the West Course this weekend but golf’s decision to keep calm and carry on after Friday’s suspension may just have been greeted with a nod of Royal approval. The Queen, after all, was always admired for doing just that with her unwavering stoicism.

Reduced to 54-holes – no jokes about the LIV Golf format, please - the DP World Tour’s flagship event is set for a rip-roaring finale today. 

Soren Kjeldsen and Viktor Hovland lead the way on 12-under but the lurking presence of Rory McIlroy just a shot behind gives the championship a very special energy and excitement. In a star-studded field, the 2014 BMW PGA champion remains the star attraction. The buoyant chanting of his name from young autograph hunters as he left the recording area underlined his magnetism.

While Kjeldsen’s 64 was wonderfully assembled after a bogey on the opening hole, McIlroy’s 65 was another of his captivating spectacles as he joined Rafa Cabrera Bello and Thomas Detry on the 11-under mark. There was the magic of an eagle on the fourth and a brace of birdies to finish at 17 and 18 while brave par saves at 13 and 16, and a jammy break from the trees on the 17th, added to the allure. 

“Those par saves were huge for momentum,” reflected McIlroy of the importance of those moments. “That’s been the difference for me this year, being able to hole those putts for par and being able to keep grinding it out. That's what golf is about.  Sometimes it doesn't have to be pretty but it’s effective. That's what consistent golf looks like. And it's what wins you golf tournaments.”

You need a bit of good fortune at times too. His bold line with the driver off the 17th tee arced towards the trees, rattled around in the branches and then dropped down onto the fairway.

“Billy (Foster, Matt Fitzpatrick’s caddie) said to me, ‘who did you pay to throw the ball out of there?’,” chuckled McIlroy of that flirtation with out of bounds. “That was a seven that turned into a four.”

The DP World Tour officials had clearly agonised over the continuation of the championship but McIlroy was adamant that playing on was the correct call.

“I don’t think we are disrespecting anyone by playing,” he added. “Hopefully we are showing our respect and celebrating what an incredible life The Queen had. The atmosphere was brilliant, it really was.”

As for his memories of The Queen? “I met her at a horse race, actually, her favourite pastime,” he said with a smile. “I had just come back from Dubai and I was telling her about that.  She said, ‘Oh, I just watched a horse race in Dubai on the telly’.”

Her Majesty did love those gee-gees didn’t she? With the thoroughbreds lining up at Wentworth – Francesco Molinari, Shane Lowry, Matt Fitzpatrick and defending champion Billy Horschel are all within four shots of the lead - it was the veteran campaigner Kjeldsen who set the early standard with an eight-under card which vaulted him to the top.

The 47-year-old, aiming to become the first Dane to win in this parish since Anders Hansen in 2007, leaked a shot on the first but responded with great gusto. An eagle on the fourth quickly repaired the damage before a bag of seven birdies got him barging up the order. At 605th in the world and 147th on the DP World Tour rankings, Kjeldsen may not have been many folks tip for success this week but he knows how to get it round this place, having notched a couple of top-10s here down the years. “I don't hit it a long way but if I hit it solidly and I and hit it into the fairway, it's possible for me to compete,” he said of his canny approach.

Hovland, the world No 10, added a 68 to his opening 64 to join Kjeldsen at the summit while Talor Gooch and Adrian Otaegui romped in with 64 and 65 respectively to hover on 10-under and spearhead the challenge of the controversial LIV Golf entrants on a leaderboard that’s as congested as the M25 at rush hour.

Round of the day was produced by Australia’s Min Woo Lee, who conjured two eagles in a 62 which was a whopping 14 shots better than his opening effort of 76. It’s a funny old game.