Danny Willett (Getty Images)
Defending champion Danny Willett showed no signs of relinquishing his crown without a fight as the Englishman carded a second round 65 to share the clubhouse lead with Bernd Wiesberger on day two of the BMW International Open.
England’s Willett, who secured his maiden European Tour title at Gut Lärchenhof 12 months ago, surged to ten under par with seven birdies in his bogey-free effort.
The 25 year old started on the tenth at Golfclub München Eichenried, and birdied the 11th and 12th to turn in 34.
In scoring conditions less frenetic than the opening day birdie-fest, Willett picked up further shots at the first and fourth, holed a 12 footer at the fifth, hit his tee shot to ten feet at the eighth and completed his scoring with a routine birdie at the ninth.
“It was good,” said Willett, whose season to date has been disrupted by a back injury. “Yesterday was a bit hit and miss, a little bit shaky. I haven't played a lot of tournament golf in the last 14 weeks, so it was a bit rusty, and today hit some proper golf shots again and I played really nicely.
“It's good to put yourself in a position. Obviously Ernie [Els] has got a round to go and a few other guys at seven, eight under par, so it will be interesting at the end of the day.
“It is a birdie-fest out here and people make a lot of putts and stuff. If you can just keep hitting it inside 20 feet, 15 feet, you are going to hole your fair share. We had some good numbers, played the par fives pretty nicely - it's just been pretty good all the way around.
“First time coming back to a tournament defending champion is always nice, obviously different golf course but still the same atmosphere and it's BMW's 25th anniversary, so it's a nice event this year.”
Austrian Wiesberger progressed with a four under par 68, mixing seven birdies with three bogeys - the highlight an approach to two feet at the fifth.
He said: “Obviously I’m happy, I got myself back into contention again and up the leaderboard, so very happy to see that after a couple of hiccups during the round.
“All in all, I like the way I hit the ball. I like the way I executed my chances when I had them, so pleased with my game overall.”
Overnight leader Ernie Els was still to tee off after his scintillating opening 63, but The Open Champion had been joined on nine under by home favourite Martin Kaymer, who was round in a one under 71.
And afterwards the 2008 winner admitted he had been feeling unwell during his second round.
“Obviously golf wise, it was not the greatest day,” said the former US PGA Champion. “I felt so bad the first nine.
“It's just one of those days where just not a great day, but it's fine. Nine under par is still a good position I'm in.
“I think once I have a few minutes for myself, I will be feeling a lot better, but we will see what the other guys are going to play in the afternoon. I think I did everything I could yesterday and today.”
Els joined the leading group with a birdie at the long sixth, but a double bogey six at the next dropped him back to a tie for seventh.
France’s Alexander Levy turned in 33 to join Wiesberger and Willett on ten under, with England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Swede Alex Noren moving alongside Kaymer a shot further back.