Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 6/20/13
Ernie Els shot a 9-under 63, making an eagle and seven birdies, on Thursday to hold the clubhouse lead in the opening round of the BMW International Open. The South African, who won the British Open in 2002 and 2012 and the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997, almost had a second eagle on the last hole that would have equaled a course record. He settled for a birdie that gave him the overall lead. ''It doesn't really mean much until Sunday. But getting into the race - so to speak - early on in the tournament is nice, to be right in the hunt,'' Els said. Els is one stroke ahead of Matthew Baldwin of England, Alex Noren of Sweden, Robert-Jan Derksen of the Netherlands, and Martin Kaymar, who delighted the home crowd by finishing in the afternoon with three successive birdies, nine in all. ''I had a lot of chances on the back nine and I pretty much made all of them,'' said the German. Baldwin and Noren both holed eight birdies in the morning, while Derksen had six, as well as an eagle. English pair Matthew Nixon and Tom Lewis, and Alexander Levy of France are next after shooting 65s. ''Hats off, it was just everything went right, holed a lot of putts and that's that, really,'' Nixon said. ''I had two eagles and my dad is always telling me I'm rubbish at par-5s so hopefully he'll feel better about that.'' Els finished tied for fourth at the U.S. Open last week and had a share of sixth place at the Wentworth Club in his previous two tournaments. ''I've really been working hard at my game,'' the 43-year-old said, referring to his recent fine form. ''I could feel that things were coming around a bit. I've had a bit of an iffy year up to now, but I really feel that my swing feels good and my body feels good, so I can swing the club properly.'' Els started at the 10th hole, and made five birdies in the outward 31. He holed a 40-foot birdie putt on the short second, before doing brilliantly on the par-5 sixth. Despite finding himself in the rough facing a flag guarded by water, he drove the ball almost 250 yards to within five feet of the hole, before putting for the eagle. ''It's just a pleasure to play, not to go through a torture chamber like I did at the U.S. Open. So, a nice start,'' Els said. ''I'm glad that I came (here) because I feel my game is coming around. I just haven't had the results, so it's nice to see where my game is.''
PLAYERS: Ernie Els
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Gordon Hayward's agent indicates he's likely out for the season

Masahiro Tanaka joins Yankees legends with dominant Game 5 start

Willson Contreras admires his work after crushing 491-foot home run

Jeremy Lin to have knee injury evaluated amid ‘tremendous concern’

Bulls' Mirotic out 4-6 weeks, Portis suspended eight games

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Gordon Hayward to undergo surgery Wednesday night

Jim Harbaugh defends quarterbacks from blame for Michigan’s struggles

Gronk: Patriots told not to discuss Super Bowl LI this week

Vikings backup QB: Bridgewater looked normal in return to practice

Carmelo Anthony: Phil Jackson wanted 'to trade me for a bag of chips'

Tampa named official host of Super Bowl LV in 2021

NFL Week 7 Predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

Blackhawks get extra depth on defense with newbies Rutta and Forsling

The 'Old faces in new places' quiz

Nikola Jokic: A throwback superstar for the modern era

25 questions heading into the 2017-18 NBA season

The 'Sure do hope you have a backup plan in place' quiz

Tale of the Tape: National League Championship Series

Sports & Politics Intersect: White House looms large over sports world for another week

The 'A butcher, a Baker, a touchdown maker' quiz

Golf News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

NFL Week 7 Predictions

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

Blackhawks get extra depth on defense with Rutta and Forsling

The 'Old faces in new places' quiz

25 questions heading into the 2017-18 NBA season

The 'Sure do hope you have a backup plan in place' quiz

Tale of the Tape: National League Championship Series

Sports & Politics Intersect: White House looms large over sports world for another week

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker