Francesco Molinari was delighted to be in the clubhouse below par after firing a three under 68 in tricky conditions today at the Alstom Open de France.
Having carded 71 yesterday, Molinari, already with the Reale Seguros Open de España title under his belt this season, moved into contention at a windy Le Golf National near Paris.
The 29-year-old Italian resumed on the back nine and birdied the tenth, 12th and short 16th to move up from 42nd place to three under par.
He dropped back when he bogeyed the third and seventh, but ended with back-to-back birdies.
“The wind is supposed to keep blowing and maybe pick up a bit, as well. So you know, it's good to be in the clubhouse under par,” Molinari said.
“I’m really happy with the round. I played well. Hit the ball well off the tees, which is key here. And you know, just holed a couple of putts.
“I'm still, I mean, I can still do a lot better on the greens I think. But, you know, really happy with today's round.”
On the back of finishing tenth at The Irish Open last week, Molinari is on an even keel.
“I feel good about the game. Last week in Ireland was good. Just making the top ten but playing nicely. So you know, I’m looking forward to the weekend,” he added.
Molinari feels his game is well suited to the challenges of Le Golf National.
“I love it. I think it's one of the best we play, if not the best,” he said.
“Obviously there's more pleasant days than today because of the wind. With the breeze, it's really tricky and you need to be spot on off the tees, and with the iron play, as well.
“So I think it's quite good for my game. But you know, anyone is going to have a few shots that aren't right here because it not easy. There's nothing easy about it.”
Ian Poulter was also pleased to be under par today and for the tournament on the back of his 69.
“It was a flattering score I think,” he admitted. “I didn't put it in the fairway very much at all today. I hit my fair share of miss hits off the tee. Put it in tricky spots.
“A couple of good shots I did hit were very good but I managed to make birdie from those. But I've definitely got away with what could have been could have been a poor round of golf today.”
The Englishman, who is one under par, predicted such scoring would become trickier as the day wore on.
“It was a very grinding round of golf but I managed to get every single piece out of it. But there's going to be some guys that are going to see the wrong side of this today,” he added.