Friday, 19 March 2010
Open de France - Round One  (Getty Images)
Open de France - Round One (Getty Images)

Blistering heat and a blistered foot served only to bring out the best in young German star Martin Kaymer at Le Golf National.

The 24 year old began the Open de France ALSTOM with a course record-equalling 62.

So bad was Kaymer's right foot that as well as being seen by a doctor he had a hole cut in his golf shoe to allow him to play Wednesday's pro-am.

With the help of his three partners he won that by four with an amazing 16 under par best-ball of 55, but to be only seven worse than that on his own underlined what a massive talent he is.

"I've been missing a lot of short putts, but everything came together - and I hope it continues," he said after taking a three stroke lead over England's 2006 winner John Bickerton, Thai Thongchai Jaidee, Australian Scott Strange, Swede Peter Hanson and  Argentina's Rafa Echenique - the man who was second to Nick Dougherty in Munich last week after a closing albatross.

"The foot's still hurting, but I will survive," added Kaymer. "Yesterday when I was practising it was unbelievable pain, but now I don't worry about it."

Kaymer's round actually began with a bogey, but after five birdies in the next nine holes he chipped in for eagle at the long third and finished with three more birdies for an inward 30.

Bickerton, 40 later this year, said: "I've not been playing well, but these things happen in golf and you have to try and kick on and improve.

"I've changed a few things in my set-up. I was getting very crouched and very lazy and hadn’t even noticed myself, so it was important to address those issues.

“The fairways are tight here but if you do get the ball in the right places then you can get the ball close to the hole and the greens are quite receptive. You have to hole to the putts though and it was nice to have a good day out there for a change.”

Dougherty followed up his win with a 66 and Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie, without a top ten finish since he was runner-up in this event last year, returned a 69.

Miguel Angel Jiménez, whose 500th European Tour event began with a hook into the water, hit back for a 67 and fellow Spaniard Pablo Larrazábal, the defending champion, matched that with five birdies in the last six holes - after a triple bogey eight on the ninth.

“This is a golf course that you need to take special care around,” warned Jiménez. “The course is in great condition so I think that I played well and that four under par is good for the day. I started with a bogey and dropped another one on the fourth, but it was a good round and I played well, very solid and made some putts.

“Golf is my life and has given me everything. To play 500 tournaments is a great achievement and makes me proud.”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
T1KAYMER, MartinGER18-13
T4HANSEN, AndersDEN18-9
T4HANSON, PeterSWE18-9
T6HANSEN, SorenDEN18-8
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