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Furious start to the BMW International Open: Course record, albatross and two Germans in the top four.

+++ Haotong Li (CHN, -10) leads world-class field after opening round +++ Nicolai von Dellingshausen (-8) the best-placed German in third +++ Max Kieffer (GER) hits only the fourth albatross in tournament history +++ +++ Martin Kaymer (GER, -6) also starts strongly +++

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+++ Haotong Li (CHN, -10) leads world-class field after opening round +++ Nicolai von Dellingshausen (-8) the best-placed German in third +++ Max Kieffer (GER) hits only the fourth albatross in tournament history +++ +++ Martin Kaymer (GER, -6) also starts strongly +++

Munich. Today’s opening round of the BMW International Open was placed in glorious sunshine and perfect conditions. Having been denied the opportunity for two years, thousands of spectators returned to the course in Munich to watch world-class golf. They were treated to a feast of fantastic golf and outstanding performances, with the local pros playing a major role.

At the top of the leaderboard after day one is Haotong Li, who hit six birdies and two eagles on his way to a course record of 10 under par. The Chinese player carded the decisive eagle on the ninth hole (his 18th of the day) – by no means a hole, on which you would expect to pick up two shots.

Later in the evening, Daan Huizing (-9) returned to the clubhouse after a bogey-free round that featured nine birdies. The Dutchman also came mighty close to winning the BMW Hole-in-One Award, the all-electric BMW i7, missing by a matter of centimetres. His consolation is second place after the opening 18 holes.

One shot back is Nicolai von Dellingshausen, who also enjoyed an excellent round and a fantastic start to his home tournament. Martin Kaymer (-6), the only German winner of the BMW International Open (2008), opened with a bogey, but recovered well with a flawless round including seven birdies, which sees him end day one in fourth place – a position he shares with the likes of Ryan Fox from New Zealand and young Dane Rasmus Højgaard.

Max Kieffer (-4,) pulled off the shot of the day. The 31-year-old holed his second shot on the 11th hole (par 5), a four-iron from a good 192 metres. This was only the fourth albatross in the history of the tournament, which dates back as far as 1989. Only José Maria Olazábal (ESP, 2001, hole 11, par 5), Rafa Echenique (ARG, 2009, hole 18, par 5) and Vincent Norman (SWE, 2021, hole 16, par 4) had pulled off this remarkable feat before Kieffer.

Billy Horschel (-2, T46) began his pursuit of the BMW hat-trick with a solid round, but with room for improvement.

Quotes after round one.

Haotong Li.

“It has been an incredible day. The last few weeks I’ve played solid. Hopefully, I can put everything together this week. I think that was the lowest round of my career so far. Good tee shots were key today. Germany has been good to me, I played well in Hamburg too – hopefully, I will now have the ‘luck of the Germans’.”

Daan Huizing.

“The atmosphere is nice and there are a lot of spectators. You can get very close to the players on this course, which is great for the fans. We got off to a good start and then put our foot down to play as low as possible. The 17th is a tough hole, but it was really close. The ball may even have lipped out. We said on Tuesday what a nice car it is. I would love to have a car like that in the future. A hole-in-one would obviously make that possible a lot sooner.”

Nicolai von Dellingshausen.

“It was a lot of fun and I made a great start to the round, with a birdie on the first. I hit a lot of good shots and hit more fairways than in recent weeks. That has been my Achilles’ heel. I worked hard on that during the week off, and it appears to be paying dividends. I am delighted with that, and the 8 under is the icing on the cake. I want to build on today’s momentum.

In the medium term, I want to qualify for the majors and put myself in contention here. If possible, I would also like to play in the Ryder Cup. I am very motivated and look forward to waking up and going to practice.”

Max Kieffer.

“At the BMW International Open, in front of my home fans: I will remember that shot for the rest of my life. Coming out of the rough, you never quite know how the shot is going to turn out. I went right at the flag and hoped for a good contact. It is just a great memory and a shot I will never forget. I have struggled for the last three years. I am now in good form, hitting the ball well, and have done some good work with my trainer in the winter. I am playing very solid golf.”

Martin Kaymer.

“I played well. I hit a lot of fairways and greens and made some good putts. The pain (in my wrist) was bearable. It was a good day.

BMW has supported me since I was 18. The BMW International Open was my first professional tournament – as an amateur. Back then, BMW put me in a flight with Ernie Els, who was my absolute hero. Then I won the tournament in 2008. Not only is the tournament very special, but also the golf course and all the emotions I associate with the whole event. No other German tournament will come close to that. I love playing here, it is a very pleasant atmosphere.”

Billy Horschel.

“The more I play here, the more apparent it becomes that this is a good golf course. You have to play well off the tee. It is hard to get the ball close to the hole on the greens, and there are a lot of breaks that are not easy to spot. My approach shots were not so good today, but I kept my game together. If I manage to control the ball a bit better, I believe I will get some good chances.”

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