Jorge Campillo was delighted to find his form again as he mastered the very windy conditions at Golf Club Gut Laerchenhof to sit just one shot off the lead after day one of the BMW International Open.
The Spaniard has been in fine form this season, registering five top fives in seven events between the Maybank Championship and Belgian Knockout, but he missed the cut at the BMW PGA Championship and then failed to kick-on over the weekend at the Italian Open.
An opening 69 in very testing conditions in Germany represented a return to his golf from the Spring, and the 32 year old is once again in a good position as he looks to claim a first European Tour title.
“I haven't played good the last few weeks but today I played okay,” he said. “I feel like my game is back and I can have another good week.
“It was a tough day, quite windy, the rough was high up. The greens were getting firmer and firmer with this wind.
“It was a great day, I played solid, I got a few good up-and-downs. It's not nice to finish with bogey but still a good round.
“You have to be patient and just see where the wind is coming from. You know everyone is going to miss shots, you just need to try to keep the ball in play. It's a tough thing to do in this wind but I think it's a fun course to play."
Englishman Aaron Rai, Scotland's Scott Jamieson and Swede Henric Sturehed were also at three under, a shot behind first-round leader Sébastien Gros.
Rai is also looking for a first European Tour win after claimnig three victories on the Challenge Tour last season, and he agreed with Campillo that scrambling was as important as shot-making on Thursday.
“It was tricky all day today,” he said. “The wind never really sat down for all 18 holes, so very pleased with that score. I think anything around par would be a good score today.
"I think the saves are just as important as making birdies so it is nice to drop as few shots as possible, especially in these kind of conditions because you're not going to make many birdies. Par saves and just taking your chances when they come along are important.”
Jamieson is a man looking for form after missing four of his last cuts and felt a hot putter was key to his turnaround in fortunes in Pulheim.
“I would probably chalk that up as one of my best putting rounds ever,” he said. “I felt really good on the greens, I hit my lines really well, obviously had a decent feel for the pace.
“I think it's easier to manage your expectations on tough days. When you get out of position you realise that bogey isn't a horrendous score because you know there will be a lot of bogeys out there.
“The course is playing fantastic, it's a great set up, it's tough. The wind today obviously made the golf course extremely tough.”