Han­son takes off in style at Ital­ian Open

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

CHRIS HAN­SON made an ex­cel­lent start to the Ital­ian Open at Golf Club Mi­lano.

The Wood­some Hall Euro­pean Tour pro­fes­sional fin­ished three un­der par for the first round, four shots off the lead held by a group of six play­ers.

Play­ing the back nine first, Han­son was three un­der at the turn after birdies on the 12th, 14th and 15th and no bo­geys.

He was four un­der par after 14 holes, but then dropped shots on his 15th and 17th holes, be­fore re­cov­er­ing with a birdie on the last.

Han­son said: “Solid stuff to­day, some real nice iron shots 68 (-3).

“Just a shame to let a few slip down my back nine!”

De­fend­ing cham­pion Francesco Moli­nari is in the six-way tie for the lead after the first round.

The home favourite carded nine birdies and two bo­geys in a sparkling 64 to de­light the Milan crowd.

Moli­nari was joined by Eng­land’s Ed­die Pep­perell and Matt Wal­lace, Welsh­man Jamie Don­ald­son, Ki­radech Aphibarn­rat and Alexan­der Bjork on seven un­der par.

Ge­orge Coet­zee and Byeong Hun An lie a shot fur­ther back, while Masters cham­pion Ser­gio Gar­cia and English duo Matt Wal­lace and Chris Pais­ley are among eight play­ers tied on five un­der.

Start­ing at the 10th hole, Moli­nari reg­is­tered a hat trick of birdies from the 14th which he capped by drain­ing a bril­liant 20 footer at the 16th.

He fin­ished his front nine in style, chip­ping in for a birdie at the 18th to get to five un­der be­fore pick­ing up fur­ther shots at the first and sec­ond.

Moli­nari told the Euro­pean Tour web­site: “Ob­vi­ously it was an­other good day. I started pretty much where I left off last year, so it was great.

“It’s great to see the crowds. I think there’s a nice buzz around the place and I’m happy and proud to be part of it.”

A high-pro­file three-ball saw the top three in the Race to Dubai, Tommy Fleet­wood, Gar­cia and Jon Rahm, tee­ing off to­gether.

Eng­land’s Fleet­wood, cur­rently lead­ing the rank­ings, hit a level-par 71 while third-placed Rahm came home in 67.

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