Ireland’s David Higgins birdied three of his last six holes to grab the clubhouse lead at the 70° Open d’Italia Lindt.
The 40 year old, whose only top-three finish of a European Tour career that has spanned more than 200 events over 20 years came back in 1996, carded a three under par 69 to reach eight under at Golf Club Torino.
“I hit some nice shots and had four birdies so I’m pleased with that,” said Higgins, who currently lies 163rd on The Race to Dubai after regaining his card at Qualifying School last year.
“If you keep hitting the fairways on this course you can manage it and you get a lot of opportunities.
“It’s nice to be leading and I’m sure I’ll be in the hunt when the afternoon guys finish. This is a good course for me and if I play well I have a good chance here.”
Higgins’ total was one ahead of overnight co-leaders Nicolas Colsaerts, Ricardo Gonzalez and Maximilian Kieffer, and the Irishman soon had company at the top when the big-hitting Belgian responded to an opening bogey with birdies at the second and seventh.
Gonzalez and Kieffer remained on seven under after ten and six holes respectively, and they were joined one off the pace by Steve Webster when the Englishman birdied the 12th and 14th.