In front of 15,000 fans, Germany’s Martin Kaymer produced one of the scores of the day to move within touching distance of the lead in the second round of the BMW International Open at Golf Club Gut Lärchenhof today.
Kaymer, a two-time major champion and former winner of the event, defied gusting conditions for the second day in succession to compile a round of 68 that left him just two strokes behind Australia’s Scott Hend, who lies on six under par after an equally sparkling round of 67. In joint second place, one stroke off the lead, are Nico Geyger, of Chile, and Sweden’s Henric Sturehed.
Kaymer, who had six birdies in his round, said: “I played really well and created a lot of chances. One or two putts went in, particularly early on. When you are four under par after nine, it gives you hope for the back nine. Unlike yesterday, I struck the ball very well. There is still room for improvement but, on the whole, four under par is a good round for day two.”
Local hopes were also boosted by the performance of Max Kieffer, a BMW Friend of the Brand, who had four birdies in a row from the 12th in a score of 69 that moved him alongside Kaymer and into a share of fourth place with three others - Sébastien Gros, the first-round leader, Nick Cullen, and Aaron Rai.
“Like yesterday, I started well but did not score as I should have been doing and did not take my opportunities,” Kieffer said. “I was a bit tired in the middle of the round, but I found my rhythm again at the end and played really well. It is great for the tournament to have two Germans playing really well. Maybe that will bring in one or two more spectators. It would be cool to continue tomorrow where I left off today.”
In many ways the day belonged to Rai, who took just one shot to double his winnings for the season when he had a hole in one at the 167-yard par-three 16th and claimed the keys to a BMW i8 Roadster* on offer to the first player to achieve the feat.
All week, players had stopped to look covetously at the beautiful car perched behind the 16th tee, but it was Rai – playing his first full season on the European Tour - who claimed it for his own with a well-struck six-iron, the ball landing just short of the green and rolling unerringly towards the hole before dropping in.
“Including short par-three courses, I’ve now had around 25 holes in one,” Rai admitted to general astonishment, “but nothing to compare with this. There’s never been a BMW on the line! It was an awesome thing to do it, but I couldn’t celebrate too much because there was still a long way to go as I’d started my round on the 10th hole.”
Among those to make the cut were Sergio Garcia, who had a topsy-turvy round of 71 that was made up of five birdies, one eagle, 1 double bogey, four bogeys and seven pars, Thorbjørn Olesen and Tommy Fleetwood, who got in on the cut line of four over par. Crowd favourite Ernie Els missed out.
*Combined fuel consumption 2,0 l/100 km; combined electricity consumption 14.5 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions 46 g/km.