Els fires best round of 2013 to lead BMW

Ernie Els produced his lowest score in seven months to storm to the front in the 25th anniversary BMW International Open in Munich.

The reigning British Open champion broke free from the shackles of last week’s US Open ‘torture chamber’ at Merion to record an eagle and seven birdies in sauna-like conditions on the Munchen Eichenried course.

Ernie Els Ernie Els (Credit: Eoin Clarke www.golffile.ie)

It is Els’ lowest round on either the European or PGA Tour’s since a similar score in the second round of last November’s WGC – HSBC Champions event in China.

“It was a very nice round and I haven’t shot that number for quite a while,” said the South African.

“Today was like walking out of the torture chamber that was last week’s US Open and walking onto a nice parkland golf course.”

“Of course, you still have to hit the shots but I felt like I was starting to swing the club last weekend at Merion, and I’m lucky enough I could bring it here to Munich.”

Els arrived in the Bavarian capital having finished joint fourth at five over par behind England’s Justin Rose.

And over the four rounds at Merion, Els managed 13 birdies but also 14 bogeys and two double bogeys.

The current World No. 20 ranked Els capped his round with a sixth hole eagle that he was playing as his 15th hole by hitting a 245-yard 5-iron from the rough to just six feet.

Els’s score is just one shot short of the German course record held by six players.

And Els revealed he will travel to Muirfield in Scotland in the first of a handful of visits before his July 18th commencing defence of the (British) Open Championship, and on the Scotland course where he won in 2002 and when last staged at Muirfield.

“My good friend, Mr Rupert and I are going up next Tuesday to Muirfield to check it out,” said Els.

“So I’ll go up every week for the next three weeks and get going with my preparations.”

England’s Matthew Baldwin and Sweden’s Alex Noren are next best in the clubhouse on eight under par as the afternoon half of the field took the course in the €2 million event.