Holder Moli­nari in six-way Ital­ian Open lead

Manila Times - - SPORTS - euro­peantour.com.

MI­LAN: De­fend­ing cham­pion Francesco Moli­nari hit nine birdies to share a six-way lead with a seven-un­der-par 64 on the first day of the Ital­ian Open in Monza on Thurs­day (Fri­day in Manila). The four-time Euro­pean Tour “I started pretty much where I win­ner from Italy shared the early left off last year, so it was great,” lead with Thai­land’s Ki­radech Moli­nari, who carded two bo­geys, Aphibarn­rat, Wales’s Jamie told Don­ald­son and Swede Alexan­der South African George Coet­zee Bjork. They were joined later in and An Byeong- Hun of South the day by the English pair of Korea were a shot be­hind on sixEd­die Pep­perell and Matt Wal­lace. un­der, with Masters cham­pion Ser­gio Gar­cia among a group a fur­ther stroke back.

A dropped shot at the third threat­ened to de­rail Moli­nari’s chal­lenge but, after pulling off two tremen­dous par saves at the fourth and fifth, he fired an­other birdie at the sixth to re­turn to seven un­der.

Ki­radech led for most of the morn­ing after fir­ing four birdies in his first eight holes be­fore pulling off an im­por­tant par save at the 18th.

The 28- year- old’s putting reaped fur­ther gains at the first, third and fourth and he safely parred his fi­nal five holes to sign for a flaw­less 64.

Ki­radech said: “This course re­ally suits my game - small greens, quite a nar­row golf course and my driver and put­ter are work­ing so well, so that’s why I made a good start.”

Bjork fin­ished his round in style after start­ing on the back nine, fir­ing birdies at the sixth, eighth and ninth.

“I played re­ally solid to­day,” he said. “I’m re­ally pleased with that round.”

Span­ish star Jon Rahm made a solid start play­ing along­side com­pa­triot Gar­cia.

The world num­ber five carded a bo­gey-free round of 67 and is only three shots off the lead.

Francesco Moli­nari

AFP PHOTO

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