COLOGNE, Germany (AP) — Danny Willett and Rafa Cabrera-Bello shot 8-under 64s for the lead while local favorite Martin Kaymer endured a frustrating round on the opening day of the BMW International Open on Thursday.
Willett finished with his eighth birdie to match his Spanish playing partner's bogey-free round.
"We played good. It was one of them days. We rolled a few nice ones in," said Willett, who won the 2012 tournament on the same Gut Laerchenhof course.
"You can turn an average round into a great round quite quickly when you hole a few nice putts and that's all we seem to be doing."
Cabrera-Bello said it was a pleasure to play with the Englishman.
"It's a really, really good way to start," Cabrera-Bello said. "What I enjoyed most about the round was that I played steady. I didn't have a really high peak and I didn't have any lows."
Kaymer, making his first competitive appearance since winning the U.S. Open, made five birdies but was let down by two bogeys and a double bogey in a 1-under 71.
"It was a tough day for me on the greens," said Kaymer, who was given a rousing reception despite the 7:40 a.m. tee off. "It was very, very playable today. It was the best conditions you can get here, but I didn't make many putts, especially the last five holes. It was probably the worst I can do."