McGinley and Wood in contention after dash to the start

21/06/2012 18:26:30
Paul McGinley  (Getty Images)
Paul McGinley (Getty Images)

Ireland's Paul McGinley and England's Chris Wood had an unusual journey to the course before starting the BMW International Open with a pair of seven under par 65s in Cologne.

Among a number of golfers stuck in traffic and worried they might miss their tee-off times, Wood, the 24 year old from Bristol, led a breakaway movement through the fields.

"We finally decided to leg it when we had gone one kilometre in 20 minutes - it was that bad," Wood said.

"It was about 3.5 kilometres and I was a bit sweaty when I got here, but it was worth it."

The former England international, still seeking his maiden victory on The European Tour after three runner-up finishes, grabbed no fewer than nine birdies on the Gut Lärchenhof course.

There were also two bogeys on his card, however, and with a seven under par 65 he finished the day one behind Australian Marcus Fraser and Paraguay's Fabrizio Zanotti.

"It was the best I've putted all year," added Wood, perhaps best known for his fifth place in the 2008 Open Championship when still an amateur and then his tie for third the following year at Turnberry.

Wood shares third spot with fellow Englishman Danny Willett and 45 year old Irishman Paul McGinley, who continued exactly where he left off in Wales three weeks ago, not dropping a shot all afternoon and looking to have maintained the good form that has seen him twice finish in the top ten in his last three appearances on The European Tour.

McGinley said: “I've had two weeks off, which was nice after Wales. Wales was great, to be able to finish high up with a good round on Sunday, and I also played well in Ballantine's.  So I’ve had a nice run of form the last couple of months.

“But it's only one round, there are three more to go. It's a good start and I'm pleased with that but following it up with three good rounds is what's important.”

The 2002 Ryder Cup hero eagled the 577 yard 16th from 30 feet and then almost holed his approach to the difficult 456 yard last.

He added: "It turned a good day into a great day. In all my life I don't think I've been on that 16th in two before - that's new technology for you."

McGinley was also philosophical about the journey to the course, deciding instead to show his appreciation of the crowds that journeyed to the Jack Nicklaus course, an attendance that saw almost 12,000 people through the gates on day one.

“I was still here an hour and a half before my tee time after going through corn fields and all kind to get here,” he said.  “But I think it's a great problem that we have crowds like this at a European Tour event.  We will have the same next week and I'm not one bit concerned about it.  I think it's great news that we have crowds like this coming to an event.”