US Open champion Martin Kaymer's return to action following the second major victory of his career gave his home crowd little to really cheer on the first day of the BMW International Open at Golf Club Gut Lärchenhof.
The in-form 29-year-old, who before victory at Pinehurst two weeks ago won The Players Championship in May, carded an opening round of 71.
In perfect scoring conditions in Cologne the German disappointingly found himself five shots off the early lead set by Anders Hansen – who Kaymer beat in a play-off to win this event six years ago - Graeme Storm and Gary Stal.
Starting at the 10th, birdies in three holes were quickly undone by a double bogey at the short 16th and another dropped shot at the 18th took him to the turn in one over.
Three successive birdies immediately got Kaymer back to two under but having hit his second into a greenside bunker at the 577-yard seventh he failed to get out of the trap from an awkward lie and bogeyed to finish one under.
Hansen did not drop a shot as he carded six birdies on his way to a 66 that was initially matches by Storm and Frenchman Stal, who had got to seven under through 16 holes - including an eagle at the par four ninth - before making his only bogey of the morning at the 17th.
Sweden's Robert Karlsson, who started on the back nine, looked set for a low score after reaching the turn on five under but eight pars - interrupted by a dropped shot at the eighth - meant he finished the day two shots off the lead.