Ryder Cup hopeful Martin Kaymer, paired with fellow German Bernhard Langer for the first time in competition, almost eagled his second hole of the BMW International in Munich today.
The 23-year-old, doubtful before the start because of his mother’s health, hit a superb approach to 22 feet on the long 11th and saw his putt just miss.
With another birdie on the 372-yard 13th Kaymer, 10th in the cup standings, was one behind the early leader, Frenchman Jean-Francois Lucquin.
Birdies on the fifth, sixth and eighth propelled Lucquin to top spot, just in front of an eight-strong group which included not only Kaymer, but also Order of Merit leader Miguel Angel Jimenez, Ireland’s Gary Murphy and Englishman Iain Pyman.
Ulsterman Graeme McDowell, playing with Kaymer and Langer, parred his first four holes, as did the twice Masters champion on his return to European Tour action from the US Seniors circuit.
Colin Montgomerie, John Daly, Retief Goosen, Paul Casey and defending champion Niclas Fasth were among the later starters.
Argentina's big-hitting Daniel Vancsik, denied a place in last week's US Open by British amateur Gary Wolstenholme after a play-off in the European qualifier, took over at the top with back-to-back birdies around the turn.
He stood four under with seven to play, while Lucquin was joined on three under by Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.
Jimenez and Pyman remained in the group on two under, but Murphy and Kaymer each had a bogey to slip one further back.