Kieffer storms ahead in Switzerland

Maximilian Kieffer leads a congested leaderboard at the European Masters following the close of round one.

Maximilian Kiefer in action   -  Getty Images

A birdie streak on the homeward stretch helped Maximilian Kieffer take a one-shot lead after the first round of the European Masters. The German signed for a brilliant six-under-par 64, his lowest round in five years, in Crans Montana, Switzerland.

Kieffer was four-under through 11 holes and, despite dropping a shot at the 12th, a stretch of three consecutive gains between the 14th and 16th left him out in front ahead of Andy Sullivan, Soren Kjeldsen, Julien Guerrier and Hideto Tanihara.

"I managed to stay out of the trouble and played nicely. It was a good day, I played very good tee to green and holed a few putts so I can't complain," Kieffer, whose first top-10 of the season came at last month's Nordea Masters, told the European Tour's official website.

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"I have played very well the last couple of weeks and have been hitting the ball nicely since Sweden and the putting feels okay as well, so I'm just trying to stay calm with the mind and hopefully keep the confidence up.

"I changed coach a couple of months ago now and that work really pays off now. My mind is okay at the moment and the putter so those three things are a good step."

Kjeldsen was blemish free in his round of 65, while Sullivan and Tanihara each made seven birdies and two bogeys. The highlight of Guerrier's round came with an eagle at the par-five 15th.

In a congested leaderboard, four players are two strokes back, while Thomas Pieters - who missed out on a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup - is part of a cluster of eight players three off the pace.

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