Paul McGinley continued his remarkable comeback from injury and a bizarre cross-country dash start to his day when he carded a sensational opening 65 in the BMW International Open in Munich.
Like England’s Chris Wood, the 45-year old Dubliner had to run across cornfields to make it to the course in time for his tee time after getting stuck in traffic.
Playing down the “Great Escape” theme, he said: “It wasn’t it bad to be honest. We were warned about it before we left the hotel and luckily, unlike me, I had given myself a lot of time. Normally I’m lastminute.com but today I had two hours before my tee time when I left the hotel luckily.
“So, it was okay. I was still here an hour and a half, an hour and 20 minutes before my tee time after going through corn fields and all kinds to get here. But I think it’s a great problem to have that we have crowds like this at a European Tour event.
“We will have the same next week [at the Irish Open in Portrush] and I’m not one bit concerned about it. I think it’s great news that we have crowds like this coming to an event.”
Wood, who also opened with a 65 to trail Australia’s Marcus Fraser and Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti by a shot, added: “We finally decided to leg it when we had gone one kilometre in 20 minutes - it was that bad. It was about 3.5 kilometres and I was a bit sweaty when I got here, but it was worth it.”
McGinley, who closed with a 65 on his last start in Wales two weeks ago, is looking for his first win since 2005.
Following top 10 finishes in Korea (seventh) and Wales (sixth) in his last three starts, he made four birdies in his first 13 holes, eagled the 16th from 30 feet and almost holed his approach to the tough 18th, setting up the simplest of birdies.
He added: “Yeah, that’s a great finish that’s what it was, turned a good day into a great day with a 3, 3, 3 finish. In all my life I don’t think I’ve been on that 16th in two before - that’s new technology for you.
“I’ve been saying it for a long time, when a course is soft, no matter how long it is or how high the rough is, you’re going to shoot good scores and you’ve got, like hit a 5-iron today, can stop it in two yards. When you get that standard of golf that we have on The European Tour, you’re going to have low scoring.
“Normally we play here in October when the greens are a lot firmer and this is as soft as I’ve seen the greens, obviously with the rain lately.”
On his resurgence in form this year following some recent injury troubles, he said: “I’ve had two weeks off, which will be nice after Wales, Wales was great, to be able to finish high up with a good round on Sunday, and played well in Ballantine’s. Had a nice run of form the last couple of months.
“But it’s only one round, there’s three more to go and a good finish, as well. It’s a good start and I’m pleased with that.”
As for his dash to the course, he said: “I had a problem a few years ago in Madrid when there was an EC meeting and they closed all the roads around the hotel, and the courtesy car couldn’t get in and I couldn’t get out and I ended up running about a mile and a taxi to get to the course. That’s the only other time I’ve been close to it.
“But this was okay, I was an hour and 20 before my tee time when I got here today. As I say it’s a great problem for The European Tour to have crowds like this and next week will be the same.”
Michael Hoey opened with a three under 69 as Shane Lowry and Simon Thornton shot 71 but Gareth Maybin hit a one over 73 while Damien McGrane was four over after seven holes and struggled to a four over 76.