Martin Kaymer took the opening spoils of the BMW International Open week at Golf Club Gut Lärchenhof as six European Tour stars battled it out to a climactic feast of drama on the 18th green.
The German scored 18 points on Tuesday evening to secure overall victory at the exhibition match that officially began the tournament week. The first action of the week was held on the 7,207-yard Championship Course and despite perhaps not having any bearing on the championship – the only European Tour event hosted in Germany – Kaymer and his five opponents were highly motivated from the outset as they went head to head in four testing challenges.
Kaymer, the winner of the 2008 BMW International Open, was joined by Sergio Garcia, John Daly, Miguel Angel Jiménez, Paul Casey and defending champion Pablo Larrazábal for nine holes of stroke play and three exciting special tasks on the 18th green.
The six world-class professionals first took on the opening eight holes of the course and the closing 18th. Kaymer came out on top with a score of -6, picking up five points for his efforts. It was still far too early to predict a winner at this point, however, with another 20 points up for grabs in the remaining three tasks.
The challenges awaiting the players on the 18th green were certainly just that: challenging. First up was a nearest-to-the-pin competition from long distance, followed by the same task from medium range. The pros had three attempts from each distance, with the best effort counting. The highlight was the fourth and final challenge, a chip from the grandstand, which was packed to the rafters. 2,400 spectators followed the action on the Jack Nicklaus-designed Championship Course on Tuesday.
No player managed to pull off the ultimate shot and produce a hole-in-one in any of the three special tests. This feat would have been rewarded with a BMW M6 Convertible. As such, the Opening Show Event was all about honour, friendship, playing golf and a magnum of champagne. Kaymer proved to have the better judgement when it came to the tests of accuracy and increased his points tally to 18. This was enough to relegate Jiménez (17) and Larrazábal (15) to second and third respectively.
On Wednesday, spectators at the 2012 BMW International Open will be able to watch Kaymer in action again from 12:10, when he tees off in the Pro-Am tournament alongside BMW DTM works driver Bruno Spengler and German football stars René Adler and Andreas Möller.