On a searing hot day at the beautiful Golfclub Wörthsee, Barry Lane and Peter Fowler produced the white-hot form that saw them dominate the 2011 European Senior Tour as they tied for the first round lead of the Berenberg Bank Masters on seven under par.
With huge crowds flocking to Wörthsee to catch a glimpse of the legendary Bernhard Langer in his homeland, Fowler and Lane produced the best golf of the day to soar to the top of the leaderboard on seven under par.
Langer didn’t disappoint with an opening 69 to lie four of the pace in a tie for eighth place, with Mark Mouland and Tim Thelen just one off the lead on six under and John Harrison joining Juan Quiros a further shot back.
Fowler, who played alongside Langer and Massy Kuramoto during round one, made a steady start to get to the turn in two under before lighting up the back nine to come home in five under 31 and set the clubhouse target for the rest of the field to chase.
The big Australian, inspired by the company of two-time Masters Champion Langer, solved his putting woes to rekindle the form that saw him win the Senior Tour Order of Merit last season.
“It was a really good round and it was really all about the putting today,” said Fowler. “I have been putting very poorly but I managed to get here early and have two really good days practice on the putting green and it seems to have made the difference.
“This is a really fun golf course and very pleasant to play on and when you play with a champion like Bernhard then it is very easy to get motivated and fired up for the round. It gives you an extra edge when you play with players of Bernhard’s quality.
“Guys like me are still trying to prove ourselves against these guys. Bernhard is one of those players that you use as a benchmark for your own game and he has been so fit and strong over the last 30 years.
“I find playing with players like that inspiring because they still want to get everything out of their games and they still love the challenge and the competition.”
Lane, meanwhile, was over the moon to have produced such high quality golf given his uncharacteristic performance in Holland last week, where, affected by a calf muscle strain, he carded an opening score of 88.
“Well, what can I say? I suppose being 23 shots better than the first round last week is a bit of an improvement!” laughed the Englishman.
“I don’t know what happened last week – I made a 12 on one hole but 88 is still a big number. I just played terrible last week and I had to go and do some serious practice on Monday and Tuesday this week because I was a bit shocked by that.
“But we can forget about that now and talk about today because I played lovely today and just made one mistake on the par five that led to a bogey but other than that it was solid.
“It’s nice to be in the tournament after the first round instead of wanting to go home as I did last week and I will be playing with my rival again tomorrow – Number One and Two going at it again! I get on great with Peter and we have some nice friendly banter out there, especially after being so close to each other on the Order of Merit last year. It is great fun.”
Langer also enjoyed his opening round, where he was followed for 18 holes by his 89 year old mother, Walburga.
“I knew she was coming today but didn’t expect her to walk 18 holes,” he smiled. “I made a great start with two birdies in the first two holes and just expected to really go on and make a great score from there but it didn’t work out that way and I didn’t play as well as I have done for the past two days.
“I think the best way to describe the performance today would be to say that I usually operate on four cylinders and today was only two and a half.”