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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Phelan best of the Irish as Lowry struggles

After his heroics at the US Open last week, Shane Lowry got off to a slow start on the opening day of the BMW International in Munich, carding a level par 72 on a low scoring day.

Lowry, fresh from a ninth place finish at Chambers Bay, would have been relishing the wide fairways and plentiful birdie opportunities available at Eichenreid Golf Club - the polar opposite to the much maligned Washington course. Starting on the back nine, Lowry got off to a bright start, however three consecutive bogeys from 14 through 16 meant he was always playing catch up.

Fellow Irishman Damien McGrane fared better, shooting a three under par 69 which included six birdies and three bogeys. But Kevin Phelan was tied for 10th place after his opening round of four under which included two eagles. Michael Hoey was on the same mark as McGrane, while Peter Lawrie and Darren Clarke were a shot further back. Elsewhere, world number seven Henrik Stenson briefly feared the worst before finding top gear to card an eventful 67.

Stenson, who shared the lead after the first round of the US Open a week ago, faded to tie for 27th and memorably compared the greens at Chambers Bay to like "putting on broccoli".

But the former European number one found the putting surfaces at Eichenried more to his liking as he overcame a triple bogey with eight birdies to finish five under par, two shots behind leaders Lasse Jensen, Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Daniel Gaunt.

Cabrera-Bello has finished fourth, 13th and second in his last three events, but let good chances to win a third European Tour title slip from his grasp in the Irish Open and Lyoness Open.

"I've been playing well for a few weeks now and did so again today," said the 31-year-old Spaniard.

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