MUNICH, June 23, 2011 (AFP) - Sweden's Henrik Stenson set the early pace at the BMW International Open here on Thursday by shooting an eight-under-par 64 to claim the first-round lead by one shot.
England's Gary Boyd trails by one stroke, with four players on 66 after the opening day's play.
Following an impressive showing at last week's US Open, former world number four Stenson withstood heavy rain at the Munich Eichenried Golf Club to register an eagle and seven birdies.
"I don't think you will find a player who's been out here 10 to 15 years who has not had some rough times," said Stenson, who has slipped outside the top 130 in the world ranking.
"We all go through ups and downs. I've been struggling with my game a little bit, but it's hard to put my finger on what it's been.
"I played a lot better last week. My confidence is still not as high as it can be, but I'm working away trying to do the things that are going to lead me back."
Boyd, who finished equal-second in the Italian Open two weeks ago, benefited from more favourable early conditions and would have finished level with Stenson had he not recorded a bogey six on the last hole.
"I holed some great putts when I needed to and that's been the difference the last couple of weeks," he said.
Boyd's compatriot Danny Willett, Scotland's 1999 British Open champion Paul Lawrie, South African Jbe Kruger and Tim Sluiter of the Netherlands shared third place after opening rounds of 66.
Two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen of South Africa is two shots further back, while 48-year-old birthday boy Colin Montgomerie went round in two-under-par 70.
Leading scores after the first round of the BMW International Open here on Thursday (GBR and IRL unless otherwise stated; par 72):
64 - Henrik Stenson (SWE)
65 - Gary Boyd
66 - Paul Lawrie, Jbe Kruger (RSA), Tim Sluiter (NED), Danny Willett
67 - Lee Slattery, Markus Brier (AUT), George Coetzee (RSA)
68 - Felipe Aguilar (CHI), Retief Goosen (RSA), Romain Wattel (FRA), Mark Foster, Pablo Larrazabal (ESP)
69 - Steve Lewton, Liam Bond, Sergio Garcia (ESP), Alfredo Garcia-Heredia (ESP), Peter Lawrie, Scott Jamieson, Anthony Wall, Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (FRA), Hennie Otto (RSA), George Murray, David Howell, Marcel Siem (GER), Ben Parker, Simon Khan, David Drysdale, Stephan Gross Jnr (GER), David Dixon
70 - Soren Kjeldsen (DEN), Robert Dinwiddie, Joost Luiten (NED), Matteo Manassero (ITA), Martin Kaymer (GER), Simon Wakefield, Graeme Storm, Thomas Norret (DEN), Bradley Dredge, Sebi Garcia (ESP), Richard Bland, Martin Wiegele (AUT), Richie Ramsay, Christian Nilsson (SWE), Shiv Kapur (IND), Colin Montgomerie, David Horsey, Raphael Jacquelin (FRA), Dustin Johnson (USA), Dennis Kupper (GER), Miguel Angel Jimenez (ESP), Richard Finch, Andreas Harto (DEN)
71 - Thongchai Jaidee (THA), Wade Ormsby (AUS), Matthew Zions (AUS), Richard Green (AUS)
72 - Jaco Van Zyl (RSA), Mu Hu (CHN), Paul Casey
73 - Francesco Molinari (ITA), Scott Strange (AUS), Andrew Dodt (AUS), Jason Knutzon (USA), Keith Horne (RSA)
74 - Daniel Gaunt (AUS), Shaun Norris (RSA), Jin Jeong (KOR), Anthony Kang (USA)
76 - Jeev Milkha Singh (IND), Bernhard Langer (GER), James Kingston (RSA), Wen-chong Liang (CHN), Mark Brown (NZL)
77 - Michael Campbell (NZL)