Bjorn starts defence with eight birdies

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Thomas Bjorn recovered from a sluggish start to find top gear in the defence of his BMW International Open title here yesterday. The Dane opened with eight pars at Nord-Eichenried, but then birdied eight of the final 10 holes to race home in 29 shots.

That gave him an eight-under-par 64 and share of second place - alongside Germany's Marcel Siem and the English duo David Howell and Gary Emerson - two shots behind leader Raphael Jacquelin of France, who equalled the course record with his 62.

Lee Westwood and Paul Casey were a shot further back, alongside the 1997 champion Robert Karlsson of Sweden Ernie Els was six off the lead after an erratic 68.

Bjorn, the runner-up in the Open and Irish Open in consecutive weeks last month and winner here twice in the past three years, said: "I missed a few chances on the front nine, but in the end got what I deserved."

Jacquelin, who also fired a 10-under-par 62 in the opening round of the Nordic Open three weeks ago, but faded to 25th, already has fond memories of the event. He won a BMW Z8 for a hole-in-one two years ago and drove it to a tournament for the first time this week. "I drive, it but not that often," he said. "You can't drive everywhere with this kind of car."

Seve Ballesteros' first appearance for four months is destined to be short after the Spaniard's 84, 12 over par, left him lying last of the 156-strong field by five shots.

BMW INTERNATIONAL OPEN (Munich): Leading first-round scores (GB and Irl unless stated: 62 R Jacquelin (Fr). 64 M Siem (Ger), T Bjorn (Den), D Howell, G Emerson. 65 R Karlsson (Swe), P Casey, L Westwood. 66 M Maritz (SA), F Andersson (Swe), I Poulter, G Evans, P Hedblom (Swe). 67 S Tinning (Den), T Price (Aus), S Gallacher, A Hansen (Den), K Eriksson (Swe), J Bickerton, B Langer (Ger). 68 S Hansen (Den), B Barham, E Els (SA), M Brier (Aut), S Webster, B Davis, S Scahill (NZ), M Lafeber (Neth), J F Lucquin (Fr), J M Lara (Sp), J Rystrom (Swe). 69 A Wall, M Olander (Swe), *M Kaymer (Ger), P Golding, N Vanhootegem (Bel), P McGinley, C Wi (S Kor), N Colsaerts (Bel), S Struver (Ger), G Owen, A Cejka (Ger), B Mason, E Canonica (It), D Drysdale, M Wiegele (Aut), S Dyson, D Lynn, T Immelman (SA), T Dier (Ger), S Kjeldsen (Den), I Garbutt, M Mackenzie, G Rojas (Arg), G McDowell, R Russell, Peter Lawrie, G Brand Jnr. 70 A Atwal (Ind), A Coltart, M Tunnicliff, A Larrazabal (Sp), J Daly (US), B Rumford (Aus), R Green (Aus), R Claydon, S Khan, M Warren, S Hurd, C Schwartzel (SA), A Mednick (Swe), J Clement (Swit), M Haremza (Ger), J Lupprian (Ger), A Raitt. * denotes amateur

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