Els shoots 63, holds lead in Germany

Ernie Els holed an eagle and seven birdies Thursday to shoot a 9-under 63 and hold the clubhouse lead in the opening round of the BMW International Open.

The South African, who won the British Open in 2002 and 2012 and the US Open in 1994 and 1997, almost had a second eagle at the last that would have equaled a course record.

The 43-year-old Els finished tied for fourth at the US Open last week and had a share of sixth place at the Wentworth Club in his previous two tournaments.

Els is one stroke ahead of Matthew Baldwin of England and Alex Noren of Sweden.

English pair Matthew Nixon and Tom Lewis and Alexander Levy of France are next after shooting 65s.