A disappointing double bogey on the last meant Ireland dropped from second to tied sixth at seven under at the end of the opening round of the Omega Mission Hills World Cup today, with Martin Kaymer and Alex Cejka of Germany at the top of the leaderboard with a one-stroke lead.
Graeme McDowell and the experienced Paul McGinley had combined for seven birdies with Ryder Cup star McDowell firing an eagle three on the par-five 11th.
“You don’t expect to be making bogeys, certainly not double bogeys,” said McDowell. “We are both disappointed with the finish but there is a lot of good golf out there.”
The German pair combined well on the Olazabal course at a blustery Mission Hills Golf Club to secure a 10-under-par 62 in fourballs.
Australia are in second place at nine under after Brendan Jones and Richard Green combined to card a 63 with Spain, the United States and Canada tied on eight under.
Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie and Alastair Forsyth, looking to stage a successful defence of the trophy, finished six shots off the pace after a 68 today while England’s Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher are a shot further behind.
Germany got their bid for a second World Cup win in three years off to a fine start as Kaymer reeled off three successive birdies from the first before Cejka added another on the par-four fourth.
Kaymer then fired a superb eagle three on the seventh, holing a putt from over 65 feet before picking up another shot on the ninth to ensure Germany reached the turn at seven under.
Kaymer, who won twice on the European Tour in the 2008 season, added another two birdies coming home while Cejka weighed in with one more.
“We had a really good start today,” said Kaymer. “We were seven under after nine holes and kept playing well on the back nine and finished 10 under. That is a very good score because it was windy out there and it was a little bit tougher than last year.”
A strong run coming home saw Australia climb up the leaderboard to take sole possession of second place.
Jones and Green had managed just three birdies between them on the outward nine but turned on the style after the turn.
Green picked up shots on the par-five 11th and short 13th before Jones hit two successive birdies from the 14th.
Left-hander Green then added two more birdies at the 16th and 18th as Australia strengthened their bid for a fifth World Cup title.
“We progressed pretty nicely through the front nine and hung in there I guess,” said Green. “We had a really nice run through the middle of the back nine, made most of the birdies there and it was a good feeling finishing off the way we did.”
The Welsh pair of Bradley Dredge and Richard Johnson returned a disappointing 69 to share 20th place.