Eagle-eye Phelan gets off to a flyer in Munich

The distance between the Munchen Golf Club and Mount Juliet may be around 1,400 kilometres but Kevin Phelan felt right at home on the opening day of the BMW International Open.

Eagle-eye Phelan gets off to a flyer in Munich

In fact, Phelan achieved a pro-career first with two eagles, one on either nine, in an eye-catching four under par 68 on the outskirts of the Bavarian capital.

It left the quietly-spoken Mount Juliet-attached pro just three shots behind the leading trio of Australia’s Daniel Gaunt, Dane Lasse Jenson and Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello.

Henrik Stenson, the event’s highest ranked player at No. 7, bounced back from a ‘7’ at his seventh hole to be among a group on five under par.

Waterford’s Phelan, competing on the German course for a first time in his career, firstly holed a seven-yard eagle ‘3’ chip shot from just off the green at the par five 18th he was playing as his ninth and then with a 82-yard, 55-degree wedge he found the bottom of the cup for an eagle 2 at the par four fifth hole and the 14th of his round.

“Two eagles in the round always help the scoring and it keeps the momentum going,” he said he said after recording just 23 putts in his round..

“As soon as I saw this course, it suited my eye and many of the holes remind me very much of Mount Juliet, being tree-lined and with a bit a water, so both courses are very similar and that certainly helped today.”

However Phelan arrived in Munich on the back of three missed cuts in succession but showed earlier in the season his talent with a share of second in the Joburg Open and a tie for third in the Hassan 11 Trophy in Morocco.

“I have been playing well of late but getting nothing out of it like at the Irish Open where I felt I played really good tee-to-green,” he said.

“But then I have remained patient and just keep my head down.”

Damien McGrane is just one shot further back and capping his round with three birdies in succession from the fourth hole.

However Shane Lowry was still struggling with jet-lag and a lack of sleep as evident in dropping three shots in three holes from his fifth hole.

“I played with Martin (Kaymer) and Henrik (Stenson) who also flew-in from the US West Coast, and we were three tired bodies out there,” said Lowry.

“I would say I’ve had less than 20-hours sleep since getting back to this part of the world but then hopefully I can get a full night’s sleep tonight as my legs also are pretty weary. So it was just good to get this first round out of the way and to hole that par putt at the last was huge but then to play out there alongside Martin and Henrik, in front of a huge crowd, kept me going.”

Michael Hoey posted a three under par 69 while Darren Clarke, who eagled the par four third hole, and Peter Lawrie signed for 70s.

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