In his first start since his blowout victory at the U.S. Open, Kaymer opened with a 1-under 71 Thursday at Golf Club Gut Larchenhof in Cologne, Germany.
Beginning on the back nine, Kaymer made birdies on Nos. 13 and 15 before taking a double on the par-3 16th and dropping a shot on the par-4 18th. He bounced back with three consecutive birdies on Nos. 1-3 before a bogey on the par-5 seventh. He is seven shots back of Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Danny Willett.
“There are expectations from so many people who come out and expect you to play well, at least as well as two weeks ago. That’s how Germans are,” he said afterward. “But you have to lower your expectations. I had very long weeks the last two months. It’s very difficult to keep your energy level up. It’s nice to play here, but it’s also quite exhausting because there’s so much to do.”
Kaymer, who grew up about 15 miles from this week’s host site, won the BMW in 2008. He struggled on this course in 2012, though, and conceded Thursday that it is “not my favorite golf course in the world.”
“I struggle to see a lot of shots,” he said.
The 11th-ranked player in the world has finished inside the top 31 in each of his last seven starts, including victories at The Players and U.S. Open.