Bernhard Langer delighted the home fans when he opened with an eight under par 64 to lead the BMW International Open by a shot.
Langer has won every title in Germany except the BMW International Open but made great strides to completing the set with the ideal start at GolfClub München Nord-Eichenreid.
The German, who celebrated his 45th birthday on Tuesday, raced up the leaderboard with seven successive birdies but narrowly missed out on equalling the European Tour record of eight consecutive birdies.
His birdie run began on the par five 18th hole after starting at the tenth and continued until the seventh hole of the front nine. That run took him into a one shot lead over the English trio of Richard Bland, Robert Coles and Ian Poulter.
“It would be nice to win this one but lets not jump too far ahead,” he said. “It is only the first day and there are a lot of guys just one or two shots behind me. But it is nice to be in this position and hope my game will continue the way I played today.”
Langer again had his friend and neighbour from Florida, American golf professional Russell Holden, caddying for him after his long serving caddie broke his shoulder three weeks ago when he fell off a ladder picking fruit. He is expected to be out for at least six weeks which could rule him out of The Ryder Cup at The De Vere Belfry next month.
"There is a chance Russell may be with me," added Langer. "But there is also a chance Pete Coleman may yet be fit. If I do go for somebody else it will be someone who has worked with me before."
Twelve months ago Poulter was vying for a Ryder Cup place as he needed to overhaul Phillip Price at Golfclub München Nord-Eichenreid in the final qualifying event to make the team. He was ultimately unsuccessful, finishing in 11th place in the Ryder Cup Points List. So far this season his best finish was second in the Victor Chandler British Masters behind his close friend and rival Justin Rose.
“It’s been a rollercoaster of a season,” he said. “I don’t tend to hold a whole run of form and don’t spring a load of top fives in row. It is very much feel and this week I feel pretty good, and I’m starting to swing it well. It is not been the best of years. I had three months off at the start of the year but there are still nine tournaments left and I want to finish the season in fine form and lift myself back up the Volvo Order of Merit.”
Bland, who lost a play-off for the Murphy’s Irish Open two months ago, now has his sights on the Volvo Masters Andalucia at the end of the season after comfortably securing his card. Bland made his score on his front nine, the back nine on the course, by reaching the turn in six under par 30. But the birdies dried up on the back nine and he could only improve by one more shot as he signed for a seven under par 65.
After a few words from coach Tim Barter, Bland concentrated his practice on his wedge shots, the plan paying off as he peppered the flag for the first nine holes.
“My main season goal is now to get in the Volvo Masters but also I want to just get up the sharp end again,” said Bland. “I have only managed it once this year and would like to do it again. Hopefully hole a few putts this week and it might come about. I have been playing well for a while now and it is nice to get out of the blocks a little earlier and put a number up.”
Coles on the other hand needs a couple of good weeks if he is to secure his playing privileges for next season. Coles is currently lying in 154th place in the Volvo Order of Merit and needs to climb