Molinari brothers star in Italian job at the Open

Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:48am EDT
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By Martyn Herman

HOYLAKE England (Reuters) - Brothers Edoardo and Francesco Molinari, together with compatriot Matteo Manassero, staged an audacious Italian Job towards the top of the British Open leaderboard on Thursday.

The Molinaris, Ryder Cup team mates at Celtic Manor in 2010, scored identical four-under 68s in weather conditions more comparable to Naples than England's Merseyside coast before Manassero upstaged them both with a 67, just a stroke behind leader Rory McIlroy.

"It was a fantastic round and a wonderful way to start the Open championship in this wonderful weather," the 21-year-old Manassero, who finished 13th as an amateur in 2009, said after a round that contained seven birdies.

"It's great to be near the top of the leaderboard and I dream of having a Sunday afternoon tee time. It was a good day for three Italians."

For Edoardo Molinari, who is a year older than his brother, Thursday's form revived memories of 2010 when two European Tour victories earned him a wildcard place in Colin Montgomerie's triumphant Ryder Cup team.

Since then his career has been blighted by two wrist operations, the second of which was last November, although there have been signs this season that he is rediscovering the form that took him as high as 14th in the world rankings.

"Just to get in a major is the first step," said Molinari who qualified for the Open with a second-placed finish at the Irish Open last month.

"I was very happy a few weeks ago in Ireland when I got my spot here because it's less than a year after surgery. So that's quite a quick recovery.   Continued...

Francesco Molinari of Italy watches his tee shot on the fourth hole during the first round of the British Open Championship at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, northern England July 17, 2014.           REUTERS/Toby Melville