After a well-earned two week layoff, Tom McKibbin returned to action in the DP World Tour’s BMW International Open at Golfclub München Eichenried in Germany’s Bavarian region, making his first start as a Tour winner.
With temperatures soaring, the 20-year-old’s red hot form continued as he fired a four-under opening round to ease into the top 10. Starting on the 10th, he’d birdie his second and third holes to make an early move, but would trade off another birdie on 17 with a bogey on 13 – his only dropped shot of the day – to make the turn at -2.
Back-to-back birdies at five and six were accompanied by seven pars as he’d card matching nines of two-under and his four-under tally sees him just two strokes back.
Edoardo Molinari, who played alongside McKibbin, Adrien Saddier and Rikuya Hoshino share the lead after posting rounds of 66, and the leading trio all heading out in the morning wave.
Frenchman Saddier and Japan’s Hoshino both finished with a trio of birdies to join Ryder Cup Vice Captain Molinari on six under par, one stroke clear of six players sharing fourth place on five under with play being brought to a premature end due to extreme weather conditions.
Molinari mixed two bogeys with eight birdies to set the early pace at a venue where he finished in a tie for third four years ago, while his co-leaders recorded just one blemish on an otherwise clean scorecard.
“I think it’s a very good opening round,” Molinari told the press afterwards. “I’m a little bit disappointed to be honest because I hit the ball fantastic tee-to-green, but putting, again, wasn’t good at all. You can’t complain with a six under so I’ll take it, move on and try to improve the putting.
“I think it’s important to have a fast start. I bogeyed ten this morning so I was immediately on the back foot and then I managed to make some birdies pretty soon. I gave myself chances on almost every hole and could’ve been a lot lower but, six under, take it and move on.”
John Murphy, the only other Irishman in the field, was out in the afternoon wave and had to play through the searing heat at it’s worst, struggling to a 10-over round that leaves little-to-no chance of seeing the weekend.
The German charge was led on day one by Marc Hammer, Max Kieffer and Thomas Rosenmueller, who all posted five under par rounds of 67 to join Frenchmen Romain Langasque and Matthieu Pavon in a tie for fourth, alongside Daan Huizing, of the Netherlands, who will be required to finish his final hole early on day two.
It was a memorable day for Japan’s Takumi Kanaya, who aced the par three 12th hole to kick-off the BMW International Open’s Eagles for Education campaign, which sees the BMW Group donate €1,000 for every eagle carded during the event. Day one yielded 22 eagles, taking the total to €22,000 which will be distributed between JOBLINGE and Kick ins Leben, long-standing beneficiaries of the BMW Group.