Graeme McDowell starts with 68 at European Open in Germany

Graeme McDowell tees off at the 12th hole in Germany
Graeme McDowell tees off at the 12th hole in Germany

Graeme McDowell is four shots off the pace at the European Open after firing a three-under-par 68 in Thursday's first round in Germany.

The former US Open winner from Portrush, who started at the 10th, carded five birdies before suffering a double-bogey at the 17th.

Belfast player Michael Hoey got to four under at Bad Griesbach before slipping back to post a 70.

Benjamin Hebert and Bernd Wieseberger hold a one-shot lead.

Peter Lawrie opened with a 69, a shot better than Kevin Phelan while Damien McGrane is level and Simon Thornton six over.

McDowell has slipped from fourth to 67th in the world rankings after a disappointing year.

The 36-year-old was playing competitively for the first time since missing the cut in the US PGA Championship.

Hoey, who also began at the 10th, birdied three of his opening four holes but a double-bogey at the fifth was followed by a bogey at seven.

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