England's Chris Wood staged his own version of 'The Great Escape' before starting the BMW International Open with a seven-under-par 65 in Cologne today.
Among a number of golfers stuck in traffic and worried they might miss their tee-off times, the 24-year-old from Bristol led a breakaway movement through the fields.
"We finally decided to leg it when we had gone one kilometre in 20 minutes - it was that bad," Wood said.
"It was about 3.5 kilometres and I was a bit sweaty when I got here, but it was worth it."
The former England international, still seeking his maiden victory on the European Tour after three runner-up finishes, grabbed no fewer than nine birdies on the Gut Larchenhof course.
There were also two bogeys on his card, however, and with a seven-under-par 65 he finished the day one behind Australian Marcus Fraser and Paraguay's Fabrizio Zanotti.
"It was the best I've putted all year," added Wood, perhaps best known for his fifth place in the 2008 Open when still an amateur and then his tie for third the following year at Turnberry.
Scoring was low following some heavy rain, but that did not help Paul Casey on his latest return from injury.
Ten years on from scoring a career-low 62 on the same lay-out, Casey - who missed last week's US Open to give his shoulder more rest - managed only a 76 to be down near the rear of the 156-strong field.
Fraser birdied five of his last six holes to set the early target, while Zanotti's round was even more action-packed - two eagles, seven birdies, a bogey and a double bogey.
Wood shares third spot with fellow Englishman Danny Willett and 45-year-old Irishman Paul McGinley, who continued exactly where he left off in Wales three weeks ago.
The 2002 Ryder Cup hero eagled the 577-yard 16th from 30 feet and then almost holed his approach to the difficult 456-yard last.
"It turned a good day into a great day," McGinley said. "In all my life I don't think I've been on that 16th in two before - that's new technology for you."
Colin Montgomerie, back from television commentary work in San Francisco, shot 69, but local favourite Martin Kaymer struggled with jet-lag - "I only slept for two hours," he said - and had to settle for a 71, the same as Sergio Garcia.It was a disappointing day too for Paul Lawrie. He chose not to enter the US Open because he did not think it would help his bid for a return to the Ryder Cup after a 13-year gap, but he might well have to improve on his opening 72 just to survive the cut.
Fraser, chasing his third Tour win, said: "I missed only one fairway and managed to make a few putts - it was one of those days when everything went right."
Willett, who played against new US Open champion Webb Simpson in the 2007 Walker Cup, said: "I holed a bunker shot at the ninth and then played lovely on the back nine.
"The course is relatively wet and is there for the taking, although they tucked some of the flags away."
The 24-year-old from Sheffield matched McGinley's eagle on the 16th, hitting a three-iron to three feet.
Former Open champion John Daly posted a bogey-free 68, while Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal shot 72.
Collated first round scores, Gut Larchenhof GC, Cologne, Germany(Gbr & Irl unless stated, par 72):
64 Fabrizio Zanotti (Par), Marcus Fraser (Aus)
65 Chris Wood, Danny Willett, Paul McGinley
66 Shiv Kapur (Ind), Keith Horne (Rsa), Pelle Edberg (Swe), Gregory Havret (Fra)
67 Soren Kjeldsen (Den), Thomas Norret (Den), Joel Sjoholm (Swe), Stephen Gallacher, Richard Green (Aus), Oscar Floren (Swe)
68 Mikael Lundberg (Swe), Carlos Del Moral (Spa), Christian Nilsson (Swe), Joost Luiten (Ned), Marcel Siem (Ger), Julien Guerrier (Fra), Simon Dyson, Alex Cejka (Ger), John Daly (USA), Niclas Fasth (Swe), Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa), Michael Jonzon (Swe), Bradley Dredge
69 Robert Jan Derksen (Ned), Oliver Wilson, Steven O'Hara, Pablo Larrazabal (Spa), Emiliano Grillo (Arg), Anthony Wall, Daniel Denison, Thomas Bjorn (Den), Alastair Forsyth, Michael Hoey, Steve Webster, Hennie Otto (Rsa), Daniel Wuensche (Ger), Colin Montgomerie, Richard McEvoy, Rhys Davies, David Lynn, Simon Khan, David Drysdale, Ignacio Garrido (Spa), Dylan Frittelli (Rsa), Mark Foster, Richard Sterne (Rsa)
70 Richard Bland, Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (Fra), Ross Fisher, Michael Campbell (Nzl), Peter Whiteford, Robert Coles, Jorge Campillo (Spa), Phillip Price, Ricardo Santos (Por), Thongchai Jaidee (Tha), Tjaart Van Der Walt (Rsa), Ricardo Gonzalez (Arg), Pablo Martin (Spa), Henrik Stenson (Swe)
71 Andrew Johnston, James Kingston (Rsa), Martin Kaymer (Ger), Moritz Lampert (Ger), Graeme Storm, Wil Besseling (Ned), Gary Boyd, Shane Lowry, Gonzalo Fdez-Castano (Spa), Sam Little, Simon Thornton, Matthew Nixon, David Horsey, James Morrison, Jin Jeong (Kor), Raphael Jacquelin (Fra), Mark F Haastrup (Den), Andrew Marshall, Jbe Kruger (Rsa), Sergio Garcia (Spa), Richard Finch, Rich Beem (USA), Bernd Ritthammer (Ger), Thomas Levet (Fra)
72 Gary Orr, Thomas Aiken (Rsa), Kenneth Ferrie, Johan Edfors (Swe), Jose-Maria Olazabal (Spa), Felipe Aguilar (Chi), Jordi Garcia (Spa), Alejandro Canizares (Spa), Wen-yi Huang (Chn), George Murray, Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind), Bernhard Langer (Ger), David Howell, Ben Parker, Darren Fichardt (Rsa), Andy Sullivan, David Dixon, Paul Lawrie, Reinier Saxton (Ned)
73 Tom Lewis, Peter Hedblom (Swe), Marc Warren, Tommy Fleetwood, Federico Colombo (Ita), Jamie Moul, Gareth Maybin, Estanislao Goya (Arg), Augustin Domingo (Spa), Matthew Zions (Aus), Alvaro Quiros (Spa), Brett Rumford (Aus), Sam Hutsby, Tim Sluiter (Ned), Lorenzo Gagli (Ita), Marcel Schneider (Ger)
74 Craig Lee, Benjamin Miarka (Ger), Joakim Lagergren (Swe), Andrew Dodt (Aus), Warren Abery (Rsa), Jamie Elson, Dennis Kupper (Ger), Knut Borsheim (Nor), Benjamin Hebert (Fra)
75 Alex Haindl (Rsa), Retief Goosen (Rsa), Max Kramer (Aut), Marcel Haremza (Ger), Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia (Ind), Julien Quesne (Fra), Bernd Wiesberger (Aut), Lee Slattery
76 Paul Casey, Damien McGrane, Stephan Gross Jnr (Ger), Markus Brier (Aut), Edouard Dubois (Fra), Lloyd Kennedy, Scott Jamieson
77 Alessandro Tadini (Ita), Guillaume Cambis (Fra), Maarten Lafeber (Ned), Adrian Otaegui (Spa)
78 Oliver Fisher
81 Anton Kirstein (Ger), Bjorn Stromsky (Ger)
DQ: Jose Manuel Lara (Spa) 73