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Thursday, 05 September 2019
Robert MacIntyre  (Getty Images)
Robert MacIntyre (Getty Images)

Star rookie Robert MacIntyre kept calm in the strong Hamburg winds as he set the clubhouse target alongside Englishman Ben Stow and home favourite Max Rottluff on the first day of the Porsche European Open.

The Scot has had a breakthrough season after earning his European Tour card during the last campaign and has already recorded successive second placed finishes as he edges closer to a maiden victory.

And he made a strong start by carding a four under par 68 in testing conditions at Green Eagle Golf Courses to join Stow and Rottluff at the top of the leaderboard.

Stow, playing in just his 13th European Tour event, recovered from a slow start to make his charge to the summit, continuing his recent fine form following three successive top 15 finishes on the European Challenge Tour.

Rottluff, who was making his third appearance in the event, maintained home interest as he also carded 68, with the wind and rain picking up for the late starters which includes 2018 Masters Tournament winner Patrick Reed, European Ryder Cup star Paul Casey and American Matt Kuchar.

Swede Alexander Björk was in fourth after hitting a flawless three under par, one shot ahead of D+D Real Czech Masters champion Thomas Pieters and Spaniard Pablo Larrazábal.

Bernd Wiesberger, who sits second on the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex, led a group of six to card 71, with only 12 players finishing the morning under par, while defending champion Richard McEvoy and European Ryder Cup Captain Padraig Harrington were in the red during the early stages of their round.

Stow was in the opening group of the day - starting at the tenth - but began his round with a double bogey, however, the Englishman only looked up as he immediately bounced back with a birdie at the 11th.

An eagle at the 15th and birdie at the next moved the 27-year-old up to two under where he joined Ross Fisher at the top of the leaderboard after he carded a gain at the 17th.

Fisher added birdies at the 18th and the first to take the outright lead at four under. Stow birdied the fifth to become joint-leader as Rottluff made his move at the turn.

Rottluff picked up a shot at the third, only to give it back at the sixth. However, the German turned in 30 as he finished his front nine with eagle-birdie-birdie and sit alongside Stow at four under.

Fisher dropped down the leaderboard following a double bogey and bogey from the fourth as Stow parred his way to the finish, including a superb recovery at the ninth - his last - following a wayward tee shot.

Rottluff went bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie from the 12th to hand Stow the lead on two occasions before parring the final three holes to sit alongside the Englishman, but MacIntyre was unlucky not come in as solo leader following a flawless final nine holes.

The Scot reached the turn at one under following three birdies and two bogeys, and he improved his scores with gains at the first and fourth.

McIntyre’s birdie putt at the next hung over the cup but did not drop, and despite a wayward tee shot at the sixth, he dialled in to three foot to save par.

He saved par at the eighth with another great approach from the back of the par three green before almost holing out for eagle at the ninth, which would have moved him ahead on his own.

Björk was blemish-free following his opening round, carding birdies at the 11th, 18th and ninth after starting on the back nine.

Pieters moved himself into contention with fine iron play as he finished his round with three successive gains, mixing six gains, two bogeys and a double bogey, with Larrazábal picking up three shots and a solitary bogey.

Wiesberger carded three birdies and two dropped shots, alongside German Bernd Ritthammer, Italian Guido Migliozzi, Ashley Chesters, Dane Lasse Jensen and Australian Adam Bland at one under.

World Number Nine Xander Schauffele, who was in the morning marquee group alongside Pieters and Wiesberger, endured a roller coaster round of five birdies, four bogeys and a double bogey to finish one over par.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1CASEY, PaulENG18-14
T2SCHWAB, MatthiasAUT18-13
T2MACINTYRE, RobertSCO18-13
T2RITTHAMMER, BerndGER18-13
5WIESBERGER, BerndAUT18-12
6WATTEL, RomainFRA18-11

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