Sweden’s Henrik Stenson showed he still had all his old skills with a blistering eight under par 64 to take a one shot lead after the first round of the BMW International Open.
Stenson, a former Ryder Cup player, has slipped dramatically down the world rankings from a lofty fourth place to outside the top 100 in the last two years. However, after a spell in the doldrums it appears as if the Swede is finally recapturing some of his best forma and he featured on the leaderboard for much of last week’s US Open before posting a T23 finish.
And he carried that form to Munich, Germany by shooting seven birdies, one eagle and one bogey to lead England’s Gary Boyd by one shot amid some torrential afternoon downpours, and still sporting a bandaged figure after suffering a cut during his final round at Congressional.
Boyd might have been tied for the lead had it not been for a bogey on the last hole, but the Englishman turned in 5-under par 65, before adding a further three birdies on his homeward nine holes.
Little-known Dutchman Tim Sluiter shot 66 to take a share of third alongside much more recognisable names in England’s Danny Willett, South African Jbe Kruger and former British Open champion Paul Lawrie, with Engand’s Lee Slattery and Markus Brier posting 67s to lay one shot further back.
Defending champion, England’s David Horsey began with a solid 2-under par 70, the same score as American Dustin Johnson who is making a rare appearance on the European Tour. Spaniard Miguel Jiminez and Martin Kaymer also opened with rounds of 70, as did Colin Montgomerie.
The tipster picks had solid if unspectacular starts to their challenges. Dutchman Joost Luiten twice battled back from 2-over par to card a 2-under par 70, while England’s Ross Fisher posted a round of 71. But Dane Anders Hansen endured a poor homeward nine to post a 4-over 76 and leave himself sweating on making the cut.
Paul Casey was left to rue a quadruple-bogey eight on the par-4 seventh hole. After starting out on the 10th, world number 12 Casey had turned in 2-under par before adding two further birdies on the homeward nine. Then calamity struck as he racked up an eight before dropping another shot at the next. Casey birdied his last hole to post a level par 72.