Martin Kaymer off to great start on home soil at BMW International Open
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 20/06/19 9:18pm
Martin Kaymer gave the home fans plenty to cheer in Munich as he enjoyed a fast start to the BMW International Open before storms caused a lengthy delay to the opening round.
Kaymer fired a five-under 67 to sit one shot behind outright leader Andrea Pavan, with both safely in the clubhouse by the time thunderstorms arrived and led to a suspension of almost three hours which meant a number of players will have to complete their first rounds early on Friday morning.
Former European Ryder Cup star Oliver Wilson shares second place with Kaymer, one ahead of veteran Lee Westwood, while defending champion Matt Wallace is in a large group on three under alongside compatriot Andy Sullivan.
Pavan will sleep on the overnight lead and got off to a superb start when, after a par at 10, he eagled the 11th and birdied three of the next four holes before the putts dried up for the Italian as he parred seven holes in a row.
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He got back on track with further birdies at the fifth and sixth and looked likely to open up a multiple-shot lead over the chasing pack, only to blot his card with a disappointing, closing bogey at the par-five ninth.
Kaymer has been in encouraging form in recent weeks and has climbed back into the world's top 100 having looked in danger of dropping out of the top 200 at the start of the year, and his resurgent form continued as he fed off the home support at Golfclub Munchen Eichenried.
The two-time major winner also started at the 10th and carded his fourth birdie of the back-nine at the 18th to cruise to the turn in 32, and the German remained on four under until taking advantage of the long ninth to match the earlier score of Wilson, who made six birdies and just one bogey.
"I didn't make many major mistakes," said Kaymer. "I played solid - I didn't play great, but I played solid. I put myself in good positions to give myself chances, and I had three crucial putts today to keep momentum on my side. All in all, it was a solid day."
Westwood covered the outward half in three under and had just bounced back from a scrappy bogey-six at the 11th with a birdie at 13 when the players were called back to the clubhouse due to the approaching thunder, lightning and torrential rain.
But he returned to complete his round with a birdie at the last to get to four under along with Dane Jeff Winther, with both one ahead of the likes of Wallace, Sullivan and the Swedish duo of Robert Karlsson and Alex Noren, who still has two holes of his round to complete.
Wallace birdied two of his first four holes but found further chances hard to come by, although he did pick up shots at both the par-threes on the front nine while recording his only blemish of the opening day at the third.
Andrew "Beef" Johnston's card was as colourful as his character as he returned a mixed-bag of a 70 which featured one eagle, four birdies, a pair of bogeys and one double-bogey six at the fourth.
It was also a good day for two-time Masters champion and Ryder Cup legend Jose Maria Olazabal, the 53-year-old getting round in 71 to record his first under-par round in a European Tour event since 2017.
Play was finally suspended due to darkness shortly after 9:30pm local time, with 33 players still to finish 18 holes.