By Brian Keogh
Irish hopes took a battering as Jose-Filipe Lima and Raphael Jacquelin produced some Munich magic to lead the BMW International Open.
Portuguese Lima eagled the 18th to fire a seven under par 65 before French ace Jacquelin birdied the hole to join him in a one-stroke lead on seven under par.
French veteran Marc Farry hit a 66 to share third place with Paul Broadhurst and Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez Castaño with Ernie Els in a group two off the lead.
But you had to go down as far as 40th to find to Irishman Peter Lawrie, who posted a rollercoaster, one under par 71.
Waterville's David Higgins was the best of the rest after a one over par 73 as Paul McGinley, Damien McGrane and Gary Murphy crashed to disappointing 74s.
Two under through 12 holes, Lawrie bogeyed the 13th and 15th but finished with a birdie at the par-five 18th.
But McGinley had a nightmare day on the greens, three-putting twice and racking up a horror 35 putts all told en route to an opening 74.
Starting on the back nine at Golfclub München Eichenried, the three-time Ryder Cup star bogeyed the 10th, 12th and 13th before a birdie at the 18th gave him hope.
But the back nine was a massive uphill battle after further bogeys at the first and second and McGinley did well to birdie the fourth and fifth to give himself an outside chance of making the cut.
Murphy also struggled on and around the greens, taking 34 stabs with the short stick to match McGinley's 74.
Two over after just five holes, he also birdied the 18th but then bogeyed the second and double bogeyed the reachable par-four fourth before picking up a couple of shots at the sixth and eighth.
Coming off two missed cuts on the trot, Meath man McGrane was one under after four but drove the ball poorly and bogeyed the fifth, seventh and 12th for his 74.
French veteran Farry, 47, was the happiest man in Munich as he took advantage of a rare European Tour start with a fine 66.
The 1996 champion lost his card at the end of 2003 and is best remembered for becoming the first European Tour player to fail a drug test in the 2002 French Open.
He was later exonerated because the substance was prescribed by a doctor to combat a wrist injury.
Battling tendinitis in his elbows, victory on Sunday would make him exempt until the end of the 2009 season when he becomes eligible for the Seniors Tour.