Defending champ Moli­nari shares Ital­ian Open lead

Orlando Sentinel - - VARSITY / GOLF -

MONZA, Italy — Defending cham­pion and home fa­vorite Francesco Moli­nari was among six play­ers who shared a on­e­stroke lead af­ter the open­ing round of the Ital­ian Open. Jamie Don­ald­son, Ki­radech Aphibarn­rat, Ed­die Pep­perell, Matt Wal­lace and Alexan­der Bjork also shot 7-un­der 64s Thurs­day at the Golf Club Mi­lano, next to Monza's For­mula One cir­cuit.

Ge­orge Coet­zee and An Byeong-hun both were one stroke back in the Rolex Se­ries event, which has an in­creased purse of $7 mil­lion this year as part of the buildup to the 2022 Ry­der Cup out­side Rome. Masters cham­pion Ser­gio Gar­cia stood in a group two strokes be­hind the lead­ers while play­ing part­ner and fel­low Spa­niard Jon Rahm was among those three shots be­hind.

IN­CHEON, South Korea — Sung Hyun Park birdied her last two holes for a 6-un­der 66 and a share of the lead in the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Cham­pi­onship as the South Korean bol­stered her bid to win LPGA rookie of the year and player of the year. Park was tied for the first-round lead with MinSun Kim and Min­jee Lee.

LPGA star Lexi Thomp­son, the world’s third-ranked wo­man’s golfer, head­lines the field for the third an­nual Di­a­mond Re­sorts In­vi­ta­tional. Sched­uled for Jan. 12-14 at Or­lando’s Tran­quilo Golf Club, five LPGA stars and 27 mem­bers of the Cham­pi­ons Tour will tee it up with 46 ath­letes and celebri­ties over three days and 54 holes.

Thomp­son is ex­pected to be joined by fel­low ma­jor cham­pi­ons Brit­tany Lin­ci­come, Brit­tany Lang and Brooke Hen­der­son. Hall of Famers Colin Mont­gomerie and Ian Woos­nam, along with John Daly, Kenny Perry and Mark Cal­cavec­chia, head­line a long list of Cham­pi­ons Tour play­ers sched­uled to play.

Ath­letes and celebri­ties in­clude Chicago Cubs pitch­ers Jon Lester and John Lackey, for­mer Cy Young Award win­ners Roger Clemens, Tom Glavine and Greg Mad­dux, NFL Hall of Famer Mar­cus Allen, 2016 celebrity cham­pion and for­mer ten­nis player Mardy Fish and for­mer pitcher Mark Mul­der, the 2017 celebrity win­ner.

Three­somes at the event will fea­ture one LPGA or Cham­pi­ons Tour pro and two celebri­ties. Pros will com­pete for a $750,000 purse and the celebri­ties for $500,000. The event will ben­e­fit Flor­ida Hospi­tal for Chil­dren.

Golfers will play the Mod­i­fied Stable­ford scor­ing for­mat that awards points as op­posed to strokes.

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