Italian Open. Molinari Flying The Home Flag.

White Dragon Golf

Francesco Molinari is flying the home flag in the first round of the Italian Open in Torino Italy.

Italian Open

Francesco Molinari / Getty Images

Francesco shot an opening round of -6 under par 66, he was joined at the top of the leaderboard on that score by Bernd Wiesberger.

Francesco has a Ryder Cup spot on his mind after European Team Captain Paul McGinley admitted Francesco is “very much in my mind” for one of the three wild cards that he will announce on Tuesday;

I had a chat with Paul when he got here and I think the good thing is that he knows what I can bring to the team because he has seen me as vice-captain on the last two teams.”

But it’s up to me to prove that I really want it and am playing well enough. I think anything less than a win would not be enough so I have to aim for that.”

Bernd, a two-time European Tour winner has plenty of Gleneagles experience, capturing fourth place in the Johnnie Walker Championship their last year, he also spoke about the Ryder Cup;

Paul knows I play well at Gleneagles and I like the course, but I am pretty far down the list (23rd) and even if I win it would be a surprise to get that call on Tuesday.” 

“The first three days at Valhalla gave me a lot of confidence knowing I could get into that position and be in the last group in a Major. I probably should have tried to make more of a move in the final round but I didn’t drive the ball that well that day and couldn’t really get it going.

“It was actually the first time I have had a really good performance in America as well so it was a big, big week for me and a pretty cool experience to be out so late on a Sunday in a Major.”

There are five players all tied at -5 under par for the tournament; American John Hahn, Northern Ireland’s Gareth Maybin, Scotland’s Richie Ramsay, England’s Richard Bland and South African Hennie Otto.

Stephen Gallacher, another Ryder Cup hopeful headed straight to the range after an opening round that featured four birdies and four bogeys, posting an even par round of 72;

“I’m a bit disappointed because I threw away a couple of shots midway through my round, but it’s okay for the first day and I am only one good score away from the top of the leaderboard.” 

“I know I have to finish first or second, that’s not going to change, so I’m not putting any pressure on myself. Once you get out on the course you just try to birdie every hole. That’s the easy part. It’s when you finish you think about the Ryder Cup.”

 

Euro Tour ISPS Handa Wales Open. Its Bond, Liam Bond.

Liam Bond leads the European Tour  ISPS Handa Wales Open at the half way stage on the The Celtic Manor Resort course.

Liam Bond   (Getty Images)

Liam Bond / Getty Images

Liam was able take good advantage of being home town favourite, shooting a second round -3 under par 68 and lead the tournament by one shot at -5 under par. On a tough day at Celtic Manor he was one of only a handful of players who broke par 71 on the firm course.

As he lives only a short distance away from the course and was lucky to get a late call up to this tournament as he lost his playing card in 2011. Liam says he is now playing well;

“I’m playing way better than when I had my card in 2011. If I was on tour this year I would be loving it, but I put myself under a lot of pressure when I was on the tour. I feel my game is still pretty good and I only found out I was playing on Wednesday afternoon, so I didn’t have any time to over-prepare like I have done in the past. The pressure is off because I’m not trying to keep my card. I only live 10 minutes down the road so it’s nice to be so close to home. I’ll be at home with my slippers on this afternoon and a nice cup of tea.”

Yesterdays leader Espen Kofstad, was playing once again with Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, but failed to repeat the heroics of his first round, scrambling to card +3 over par and a -4 under par total. Tiaart Van Der Walt scored an even par round and shares second place with Espen on that -4 under par total.

Paul McGinley had a good second round of -3 under par and now shares 4th place on that score with; Peter Uihein, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Graeme Storm and Grégory Bourdy.

Paul stated how hard the course was;

It was a challenge, there’s no doubt about it, you had to be patient.  It was tough and it’s understandable that the scoring is quite moderate. I have been playing well for a few months and have not turned it into a result. I could do with a good result. I played lovely controlled golf and hopefully the wind blows at the weekend. It’s very bunched as most leaderboards are now on The European Tour. You have got to play well.”

Joint best score of the day went to Graeme Storm, a -4 under par 67, which catapulted him up the leaderboard;

“My hitting has not been great but the putter is hot. It has not felt like that in a long time but over the last few weeks has been great, and the chipping is feeling good. I just need to sharpen up the long game.”

Among those missing the cut, set at +4 over par, were;  José María Olazabal, Grégory Haveret, Philip Price, Scott Hend, Shiv Kapur, Simon Khan, Fabrizio Zanotti, Michael Campbell and last weeks winner,Tommy Fleetwood

European Tour BMW International Open 2nd Round. Swede Joel Sjoholm Leads.

 

 

Joel Sjoholm (-11) - BMW International Open day 2  (Getty Images)

Joel Sjoholm / Getty Images

Joel Sjöholm of Sweden has a two shot lead at the halfway stage of the BMW International Open as he eagerly seeks his first European Tour title. Joel had a wonderful second round at the Gut Lärchenhof golf course, with two eagles and four birdies for a  -6 under par, 66, and a tournament total of -11 under par. The snappily dressed Swede is happy to be at the top of the leaderboard;

” Now I saw that I’m up there, and of course it’s going to be a new situation for me. But then I watched a lot of Euro Cup the last two or three weekends, I’ve seen what happens after four or five minutes, and I’m happy to be on top at the moment, but I would rather be on top on Sunday. I’m just enjoying this so much, I don’t really think too much about it. It’s just a great feeling and a fantastic tournament. I’ve always played here in Germany, and it was good to play well at the new venue.”

Chris Wood is one of the four players tied for second spot at -9 under par, he is happy to be in contention;

“It’s always nice to put yourself in contention. Nothing beats it really, and the more and more you can do it, the more chance you have to win and hopefully one will come along. The results haven’t really backed up the way I’ve played. I’m finishing top twenty with what I feel is top ten, top-five form really. I’ve just got to stay patient and wait for that to happen.”

The others joining Chris are; Danny Willett, Paul McGinley and Fabrizio Zanotti, and all have a real chance to go on and win this title, I personally would like to see the elegantly dressed Joel Sjoholm step up and take the win.

The highest ranked player in the field this week, Martin Kaymer, has missed the cut. It seems he could not recover from the jet lag he suffered on the trip back from the States to Europe. Martin missed the -1 under par cut line by just one shot, finishing his two rounds in par.

European Tour, BMW International Open

Fraser and Zanotti show the way

Fabrizio Zanotti -8 under par /  BMW International Open day 1 (Getty Images)

Marcus Fraser and Fabrizio Zanotti scored rounds of -8 under par, in good scoring conditions in Cologne to lead the BMW International Open in the opening round.

Fabrizio had an action packed round, it contained two eagles, seven birdies, a bogey and a double bogey;

“I played very well and made good putts, I only had hit one bad shot and made the double bogey, but I played really good. Tomorrow I’ll just try to play like I did today, come and play the course shot by shot and see what happens. I’m very happy because when I made the double, I made the birdies again. So I kept fighting and concentrating and I kept calm.”

Marcus Fraser said of his day;

It’s great, I played really well, drove the ball really straight, only missed one fairway.  Any time you do that, you’re going to give yourself plenty of chances. The greens were nice this morning and I managed to make a few putts and especially a few at the end, which was great. On 17 I just missed the left edge, so could have been six. But that’s always the story; we’re never happy. I played really well and gave myself a lot of chances so it was nice to roll a few in. Towards the end of last year it felt like everything took a turn for the better and I was heading in the right direction,” he added. “So if you keep giving yourself a chance you never know when it might happen, I just have to keep practicing and playing hard and hopefully it will happen sooner rather than later.”

They lead by one shot from Ireland’s former Ryder Cup vice captain Paul McGinley and English pair Danny Willett and Chris Wood.