The BMW International Open leaderboard had a cosmopolitan look befitting the tournament’s name with Argentina’s Rafa Echenique, South African Anton Haig, Singapore’s Mardan Mamat and Australian Peter O’Malley sharing the first round lead at six under par.
England’s David Lynn edged past the four leaders when he moved to seven under par with four holes to play but his round was undone but an ugly double bogey on the sixth, his 15th, when he putted off the green into the water. Out in 30, and with another birdie on the fourth, Lynn looked poised to shoot seven under for the first time in his career until the costly error two holes later.
Instead it was the four morning starters who managed to hold the lead throughout, each shooting six under par rounds of 66 on a glorious day at Golfclub München Eichenried when record crowds flocked to the Munich venue.
O’Malley, who probably racks up more air miles than any other player as he flies home most months to see his children, was the first to post a six under par round.
"I'm doing a lot more travelling now my kids are schooling in Australia," said O'Malley. "I played three weeks, go home for a couple and I'm just trying to manage my time better.
"I don't play much when I have my time off, so I just feel like I want to play when I'm out here, which is always good.
"There's a good run of tournaments now and these are the weeks that you want to play good golf.”
Echenique, starting at the tenth, reeled off five birdies in an outward nine of 31 and picked up another shot coming in for a flawless 66.
“I started playing very well over the last few weeks,” said the Argentine. “My putting also improved. I hope to continue, because it's the first round and there's a few more days to go. There's a long way.”
Haig dropped just one shot against his seven birdies, providing further evidence that his game is moving in the right direction.
“I've been working pretty hard on my golf swing and finally starting to reap the benefits,” he said. “I've been trying to work a positive attitude now and I think it seems to be working.”
Mamat added more colour to the leaderboard as he too mixed seven birdies with a solitary bogey. Mamat admitted he had been given a proverbial ‘kick up the backside’ by his wife and seeing fellow Asian Jeev Milkha Singh winning in Europe gave him a further impetus to do well.
The international flavour to the leaderbaord continued among the chasing players with England's Mark Foster and Lynn alongside another Argentine player, Daniel Vancsik, Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Gonnet and South African Thomas Aiken, after rounds of 67 and in the group one further back were German Martin Kaymer, the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year, and Swede Alexander Noren.
European Tour Order of Merit leader Miguel Angel Jiménez, sixth in the US Open on Sunday, had a hat-trick of late birdies for a 69, one better than 50 year old Bernhard Langer, who took some of the shine off his day's work with a closing three-putt bogey six.
The BMW International Open is the only German tournament Langer has not won and is well aware age is no longer on his side if he is to correct one of the strangest anomalies in golf.
“A we get older, the clock is ticking,” he said. “There's only a certain window left, so I don't think I'll have a chance winning it at age 60. So it's got to happen pretty soon, if it ever happens.”
Two of the pre-tournament favourites were among those to fall foul of the numerous water hazards at Golfclub Munchen Eichenried. Paul Casey finished at two under par 70 after he found water on the 16th, his ball spinning back into the hazard.
American John Daly got to four under par before he too ran into trouble. A double bogey on the 14th was followed by another on the 16th where he found water, dropped under penalty and after the ball twice rolled back into the hazard placed his ball on the bank. With the ball at rest and therefore in play, Daly moved away to study the line, only for his ball to start moving again and roll back into the hazard. Rather than take another penalty, the Wild Thing opted to play it out of the water, splashed out and two putted for a second double in three holes. The 2001 champion eventually finished at level par.