Jacquelin equals course record

By: corthing

Raphael Jacquelin repeated his course-record opening 62 in the Nordic Open of three weeks ago to take the lead in the BMW International at Nord-Eichenried near Munich yesterday.

The Frenchman’s flawless 10-birdie effort lifted him two strokes clear of defending champion Thomas Bjorn of Denmark, Britain’s David Howell and Gary Emerson, and Germany’s Marcel Siem.

Lee Westwood returned to form to match the 65s of fellow Englishman Paul Casey and Sweden’s Robert Karlsson.

On a day of low scoring, Severiano Ballesteros finished last, 22 strokes behind the leader, as he made his comeback after a 15-week absence from the European Tour following his disqualification in the Italian Open. Ballesteros had an 84, which contained three double-bogey sevens.

Jacquelin, who slipped back to finish 25th in Copenhagen, arrived in Munich in the BMW which he won for a hole-in-one in the event two years ago. He said: “It’s the first time I’ve gone to a tournament in it – maybe it’s a lucky omen.”

However Bjorn, who dramatically blew his chance of victory in the Open with a triple-bogey six at the 16th at Royal St George’s, looks odds-on to record a third victory in the event after finishing 24-under-par last year and 20 under in 2000.

Yesterday’s effort leaves him 67 under for his past 13 rounds over the course, and that despite a closing 76 two years ago when he finished 12 strokes behind the champion, John Daly.

Daly had to settle for a 70 yesterday, and Bjorn might have taken that score himself after opening up with eight straight pars.

At his next hole, the 18th, he broke his birdie drought and there was no stopping him thereafter as he cantered home in 29 with seven more birdies coming in his last eight holes.

Three of them came from within a yard, but he holed from 20 feet at the seventh and 25 feet at the short eighth. He admitted: “I was getting frustrated but my caddie, Billy Foster, reminded me you could suddenly birdie five in a row here, and that’s exactly how I finished.”

He had been at pains to praise his regular coach, Bob Torrance, for the all-round improvement in his game, but admitted he owed a debt of gratitude this time to another coach, Simon Holmes.

“I was struggling a bit on the range on Wednesday when he walked past and said: ‘You’re standing too far from the ball’,” Bjorn said. “I shuffled forward a fraction and everything clicked. The funny thing is I’ve only had two other lessons from Simon and both were here – in 2000 and 2002, when I went on to win.”

Siem, who turned professional after winning Eisenhower Trophy honours three years ago, is one of Germany’s most talented players, but he admits to lacking the “ice-man” temperament of his compatriot Bernhard Langer, who was in contention after opening with a 67 yesterday.

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