Opening rounds of one-under and one-over for Tom McKibbin and John Murphy respectively see the Irish duo well placed after a difficult opening round at the DP World Tour’s Porsche European Open at Hamburg’s Green Eagle Golf Course.
Playing to a par of 73, the layout unusually features seven par-4s, six par-5s and five par-3s, but scoring proved difficult on the 7,455-yard layout, with just 19 of the 156-man field breaking par.
Having started on the back nine, McKibbin opened his birdie account on the 12th with a tap-in putt after a laser-like 166-yard approach, but an errant tee shot on the next did the damage as he gave the stroke right back. He was back in red figures again after a tidy up-and-down at the par-5 15th, and he’d par his way to the turn which he’d make at -1 for the day.
Another bogey at the par-3 second hole dropped him back to level, but he’d close out the round with a terrific two-putt birdie at the par-5 ninth after his approach, which travelled 335 yards, came to rest at the back of the green almost 80 feet from the flag. McKibbin’s one-under round of 72 was good for a provisional place in the top 10, and he’d lie tied 14th by the end of day’s play.
Four bogeys in six holes on the front nine, with a birdie and a par in between saw John Murphy reach the midpoint at three-over for the round, but he found his rhythm on the closing nine, carding birdies at the par-4 12th and par-5 15th to reach the clubhouse at one-over and would end the day tied 40th.
Local hero Maximilian Kiefer shares first round leader honours with Swede Simon Forsström at -4. The 32-year-old German star went birdie-eagle on the third and fourth holes after draining successive monster putts from around 50 feet.
And after dropping a shot at the short fifth, he chipped in for a bounce-back birdie on the sixth before making three more birdies and two bogeys over the remaining 12 holes to reach four under par, while Forsström, the only other player to break 70 in Thursday’s first round, made five birdies and a single bogey to join Kieffer at the summit.
Dutchman Joost Luiten was among the group another shot back after finishing his round with a hat-trick of birdies at the seventh, eighth and ninth.
Norway’s Kristian Krogh Johannessen later closed his first-round 70 with four successive birdies on the other side of the course to join Luiten, Dane Marcus Helligkilde and Englishman Jordan Smith in a tie for third.