New dad Peter Lawrie made a positive return to European Tour action in rain-lashed Munich following the birth of his fourth child - and first son - near a month ago.
As Henrik Stenson followed his heartening US Open performance by opening with an eight under par 64 to lead the BMW International Open, Lawrie had seven birdies in a three under 69 that was good enough to lead the Irish challenge.
Despite birdies at his last two holes, he wasn’t even the best Lawrie in his group as 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie shot a 66 that gave him a share of third place.
Battling through steady afternoon rainfall, Stenson was still sporting the bandaged finger he cut when smashing a club in frustration during the final round of last week’s US Open at Congressional.
The Swede was heading for a top 10 finish but dropped four strokes coming home and had to settle for 23rd place, 17 strokes behind runaway winner Rory McIlroy after a closing 74 in Washington DC.
Nevertheless, the current world No 124 was pleased to continue his golfing renaissance as he carded an eagle, seen birdies and just one bogey to take a one-stroke lead over England’s Gary Boyd.
Stenson told reporters:
“I don’t think you will find a player who’s been out here ten to 15 years who has not had some rough times,” he said.
“We all go through ups and downs. I’ve been struggling with my game a little bit, but it’s hard to put my finger on what it’s been.
“I played a lot better last week. My confidence is still not as high as it can be, but I’m working away trying to do the things that are going to lead me back.”
Lawrie will have been frustrated to add four bogeys to his seven-birdie haul but the other three Irish players in action in the Bavarian capital would have swapped cards in an instant.
Damien McGrane, who is ranked 99th in the Race to Dubai standings after a season that has brought him just two top-20 finishes, shot a one under par 71 to lie joint 55th.
The Meath man hasn’t putted his best this term and at 95th in the putting statistics, he will be hoping the blade warms up over the next few weeks.
Newly-married Gareth Maybin shot a level par 72 to sit a shot outside the projected cut line but the most frustrated Irishman was easily Shane Lowry.
Bitterly disappointed to miss the cut on his US Open debut last week, the Offaly man shot a four over par 76 and immediately showed why one must always think twice before posting something on Twitter:
“Only one word to describe that day… Shite!”
Lowry had three birdies and four bogeys in his first 14 holes before shedding three shots in his last three holes with a double bogey six at the seventh and a bogey at the eighth.
While he hit just seven of the 14 fairways, he found 14 greens in regulation but took 36 putts to be ranked close to last in the field in that particularly category.