There was good news for Ireland's Paul McGinley today, as Swede Johan Edfors – possibly needing another victory to make the Ryder Cup side – gave himself a mountain to climb the moment the BMW International Open began in Munich.
The 30-year-old’s rise from the qualifying school last November to 12th on the cup points table with 72 holes to play has been one of the stories of the season.
But a poor drive down the long 11th at Munchen Nord-Eichenried led to a bogey six and when he dropped another shot at the 159-yard next, he was already five behind England’s Sam Little.
Edfors is one of seven players fighting for the last three automatic places in Europe’s team for the K Club in three weeks’ time.
Jose Maria Olazabal – controversially taking this week off – Padraig Harrington and McGinley hold positions eight to 10 at present, but Paul Broadhurst, Edfors, John Bickerton and Thomas Bjorn still have a chance to oust one of them.
Harrington, McGinley and Broadhurst – for whom a top-three finish might be good enough – were among the later starters, but Bjorn began with a bogey while Bickerton, who like the Dane cannot afford anything less than a win to keep alive his hopes, was one under after six and in a tie for fifth place.
Colin Montgomerie and Paul Casey are already certain of their places, but they could influence things. If Montgomerie finishes in the top 47 or Casey in the top two then Olazabal falls into the hotseat currently occupied by McGinley.
Montgomerie pitched to three feet on the 11th, his second, to go to one under, while Casey opened with three pars.