Stunning display puts Stenson ahead

6/23/2011 6:22:20 PM
Henrik Stenson  (Getty Images)
Henrik Stenson (Getty Images)
Back-to-form Swede Henrik Stenson set the first day pace at the BMW International Open in Munich after firing an eight under par 64 to lead England's Gary Boyd by one.

The former Ryder Cup star has fallen from fourth in the Official World Golf Ranking to outside the top 130 in the last two years, but was on the leaderboard for much of last week’s US Open Championship in Washington.

Still wearing a bandage on his finger after cutting it during the final round at Congressional Country Club, Stenson overcame some torrential afternoon downpours to grab an eagle and seven birdies.

"I don't think you will find a player who's been out here ten to 15 years who has not had some rough times," he said.

"We all go through ups and downs. I've been struggling with my game a little bit, but it's hard to put my finger on what it's been.

"I played a lot better last week. My confidence is still not as high as it can be, but I'm working away trying to do the things that are going to lead me back."

Boyd was joint runner-up in the BMW Italian Open two weeks ago and, like Rory McIlroy in America, broke 70 in all four rounds.

The 24 year old, first man off and playing in much the best conditions of the day, grabbed eight birdies and would have finished the round alongside Stenson but for missing the green with a pitch to his final hole and taking a bogey six.

Boyd, whose round included a 40 footer on the short 17th, said: "I holed some great putts when I needed to and that's been the difference the last couple of weeks.

"I've been working a lot on pace - the hole never comes to the ball, does it?

“Obviously the last hole was disappointing to finish with a six on a par five when I was in good position after my second shot. But I felt good on the golf course today and I'm looking forward to the next three rounds."

Compatriot Danny Willett, a team-mate of McIlroy at the 2007 Walker Cup, and Scotland's 1999 Open Champion Paul Lawrie had 66s to share third place with South African Jbe Kruger and Dutchman Tim Sluiter.

Twice US Open Champion Retief Goosen is two strokes further back and Sergio Garcia returned a 69, while on his 48th birthday - and on his return from commentating on McIlroy's amazing eight shot triumph - Colin Montgomerie managed a two under 70.

Alongside last year's Ryder Cup Captain are World Number Three Martin Kaymer, American star Dustin Johnson, defending champion David Horsey and 18 year old Italian Matteo Manassero.

Paul Casey would have been inside the top ten but for one hole, the 441 yard seventh.

Four under with three to play he hooked into thick rough, moved the ball only a few yards with his first two hacks at it, went over the fairway, then into a greenside bunker and eventually walked off with a quadruple-bogey eight, signing for a 72.