• Italian Open

Molinari tied for Turin lead

ESPN staff
August 28, 2014
Francesco Molinari plays a shot during the first round of the Italian Open © Getty Images

Francesco Molinari gave Paul McGinley a timely reminder of his capabilities ahead of the Ryder Cup by hitting a first-round 66 to take a share of the lead at the Italian Open.

Home favourtie Molinari went six under at Circolo Golf Torino, the course where he first began to play the game at the age of eight, to go into Friday's second round alongside Austrian Bernd Wiesberger at the top.

With McGinley still to decide on his three wild card picks for Gleneagles, Molinari believes he is ready to take part in his third Ryder Cup in a row.

"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," said Molinari.

"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."

Stephen Gallacher can oust Graeme McDowell from the automatic Ryder Cup spots with a top-two finish, but mixed four birdies and four bogeys to sit six shots behind the leaders.

"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," said Gallacher.

"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."

Molinari birdied his first two holes and added four more after the turn, with Wiesberger not dropping a shot in his own 66.

The five-man group of American John Hahn, Northern Ireland's Gareth Maybin, Scotland's Richie Ramsay, England's Richard Bland and South African Hennie Otto sit one shot back from the leaders.

Italian Open leaderboard

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