England's Tommy Fleetwood during the first round of the British Masters on Thursday. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Boyers

LONDON – Tommy Fleetwood was in a three-way tie for the lead at the British Masters on Thursday despite a freak dropped shot when his ball landed in a buggy's cup holder.

Fleetwood and fellow Englishmen Eddie Pepperell, who hit a hole in one, and Matt Wallace fired rounds of 67 to get to five-under and lead the way from Richard McEvoy, Joakim Lagergren, David Lipsky, Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Alexander Levy.

However, Fleetwood's round was not without incident, with his only bogey coming after his errant tee shot on the par-three 17th finished in a cup holder in a buggy which had been parked to the left of the green.

"I'm still not sure how it got there," said Fleetwood, who outscored playing partner and Ryder Cup winning teammate Francesco Molinari by six shots.

"Luckily it didn't go in the beer in the other cup holder because it would have ruined a drink and the golf ball."

Tommy Fleetwood tees off during the first round of the 2018 British Masters. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Tommy Fleetwood tees off during the first round of the 2018 British Masters. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Boyers

British Open champion Molinari, who leads Fleetwood at the top of the Race to Dubai points list, has been suffering from a back injury since he compiled a perfect 5-0 record in Europe's Ryder Cup triumph last month.

The 35-year-old Italian finished the first round at Walton Heath with a one-over 73 to stand six shots off the pace.

The first hole-in-one of Pepperell's European Tour career came in remarkable fashion, his five-iron from 172 yards on the ninth seeming to hit the bottom of the flag, bounce high in the air and away from the hole before spinning back into the cup.

England's Eddie Pepperell reacts after making a hole in one on round one of the British Masters. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Boyers
England's Eddie Pepperell reacts after making a hole in one on round one of the British Masters. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Boyers

"It was a bizarre shot from where I was standing," Pepperell said. "It looked like it pitched in the hole, jumped up and looked like it was going long because of the height it came out and obviously went in."

Agence France-Presse (AFP)