After notching his best result of the 2013 season last week, a tie for fourth at the U.S. Open, reigning British Open champion Ernie Els continued his momentum Thursday, shooting an opening 63 to take the early lead at the BMW International Open in Munich.
The South African’s round included an eagle on the par-5 sixth hole along with seven birdies, as Els was able to complete his first round without dropping a shot.
“It seems like it’s really a day of scoring today,” Els told reporters after the round. “If you shoot a really low one, it’s nice. It takes the pressure off the rest of the tournament a little bit.”
With 12 players among the morning wave able to card rounds of 66 or better, the four-time major champion noted the contrast between this week’s event and his experience last week at the season’s second major, where the winning score was over par.
“It’s like walking out of a torture chamber to a nice parkland course,” Els told reporters. “I really felt like I was swinging it well at the weekend at Merion, so it was good to take it here.”
Though half the field had yet to tee off when he signed his scorecard, Els held an early one-shot advantage over Alexander Noren and Matthew Baldwin, who each shot bogey-free rounds of 8-under 64. The South African realizes that with low scores expected throughout the week, his advantage may evaporate before he is even able to begin his second round Friday afternoon.
“Guys will be shooting low this afternoon and tomorrow morning,” he added. “So I probably won’t be in the lead by the time I tee off (Friday).”