Kaymer, Siem keep pace but Langer out
Golfclub Eichenried, Munich, June 24 - Earlier in the week, Henrik Stenson participated in a cooking course and prepared roasted a salmon for an appetizer. After the first two rounds at the BMW International Open, it is the Swede who is toasting the competition.
Stenson opened the tournament shooting 8-under on day one, and followed it up with 2-under early Friday to remain on top heading into the clubhouse. George Coetzee caught up to Stenson a couple of flights later, shooting 67 for the second consecutive day to share the lead at 10-under halfway.
Tournament favorite Martin Kaymer kept pace with -4 on the day and stands -6 for the tournament. German legend Bernhard Langer came back a bit too soon from injury, battling the pain and the course to finish +11 and obviously missed the cut.
Stenson continued his solid play on Friday and it seemed he would take a big lead and the momentum into the weekend. But he bogeyed his final two holes to keep the field close.
"I did not end the way I wanted, but it would mean a lot to me to win in terms of confidence and so on," said Stenson, looking for his first win since 2009. "If I can keep on building on this progress, hopefully I can give myself some chances to win majors."
Coetzee took advantage of Stenson's misstep and birdied four of his last six holes. "It's just a matter of trying to be in contention come the final afternoon," said the South African who is looking for his first European Tour win. "I don't really mind if Im leading or not leading, just as long as I am within touching distance."
Kaymer seemed unphased throughout the afternoon, despite having to wait while the groups in front were slowing the action on the course. It seemed he was drinking in the attention from the crowds and played like the world's #3 should.
"I hit the ball real well and reached the fairways," commented Kaymer on his improved swing. And the field should watch out, he's only gaining confidence. "It was great to finish with that birdie on the 18th in front of all those fans."
All was not well for Langer, who was returning after a long layoff due to surgery on his left thumb. After his round, Langer was aware of his physical limitations and the effect on his play. "I played five holes without pain, and then it returned. I couldn't swing like I'm used to, or hold the angle, and thus it was hard to get out of the rough. It felt like I was hitting a wall."
All was not lost. Langer played both rounds with his friend Colin Montgomerie. The two are the most successful pair in Ryder Cup history and enjoyed the time talking about the new generation of golfers. Langer hopes to return to the Seniors Tour where he has been dominating.
Over 15K fans came on a rainy opening day, and close to 17K followed the action on a mostly sunny start to the weekend. Langer was impressed. "The fans were two- and three rows deep, from the tee to the green. The free tickets helped, but the developing popularity of the game, the attention of Kaymer and the overall quality of the participants are the reasons for the turnout."
"I hope more people come over the weekend," added Kaymer. "I play my best in front of fans."
German Marcel Siem who considers Eichenried is home course, playing here since he was 9 years old, gives credit to his fans for his good showing so far.
"I know a lot of people and the support is unbelievable," Siem said after shooting his second under 70 round. "I normally put myself under a lot of pressure, but after the U.S. Open and playing here, I'm a little more relaxed."
Siem sits three shots off the lead and could be someone who can make a run for the title with his familiarity of the course.
To attend the final two rounds of the tournament, tickets must be purchased and are still available.