BERND WIESBERGER took full advantage of the perfect conditions at Golf Club Bad Griesbach as he continued his fine summer form with a seven-under-par opening round of 64 in the Porsche European Open.
Harrogate’s John Parry and Hull’s Richard Finch are just two shots adrift of the pace in a share of seventh spot alongside course designer and German golfing legend Bernhard Langer and American Hunter Mahan, who began his back nine by picking up six shots in four holes, a run which included eagles on the par-5 10th and 12th holes.
Alstom Open de France champion Wiesberger has set his sights on another prestigious European Tour title, and he made a strong start in Germany, carding three birdies in his final four holes to join Frenchman Benjamin Hebert at the top of the leaderboard following a bogey-free round.
Hebert used his past experience of the course to his advantage as he posted seven birdies in his 64, the Frenchman having twice played the Beckenbauer Course on the Challenge Tour, making the cut on both occasions and finishing tied 22nd last year.
The pair are a shot clear of a group of four players, which includes Australian Richard Green, who last week raced his own Porsche in the Norwegian GT3 National Series.
Green is joined in a share of third position by his playing partner Richard Bland, of England, South African Darren Ficardt and another Englishman, Graeme Storm, who rolled in a 20ft putt on the last hole for his sixth birdie of the day.
Parry had birdies at the third and fifth holes on the way out and a further four on the way in, including three in a row from the 10th.
His only bogey of the round came at the 18th where Finch also stumbled.
Finch also had a bogey at the fifth, which interrupted a run of birdies at the fifth, seventh and eighth.
He eagled the 514-yard par-5 10th and birdied 12 and 17 prior to his late error.
Former US Open Champion Graeme McDowell returned to action for the first time since the US PGA Championship with an encouraging three-under-par 68. The Northern Irishman posted five birdies in his opening 12 holes to reach the top of the leaderboard, but ran into trouble on his penultimate hole – the eighth – which ultimately led to a double bogey seven. He is three shots off the pace in a share of 34th position.