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Thursday, 15 September 2016
Rikard Karlberg  (Getty Images)
Rikard Karlberg (Getty Images)

Defending champion Rikard Karlberg showed no signs of nerves as he took a share of the lead during round one of the weather-affected Italian Open.

Almost five hours of play was lost due to torrential rain and the threat of lightning at Golf Club Milano, with just 33 players managing to get their tournament under way before 1330.

Karlberg had made a single par when the horn sounded for the second time of the day at 1005 but made five birdies after the resumption to share the lead at five under after 12 holes.

He held that share with local favourite Francesco Molinari, who had five birdies in his first 11 holes as he seeks to win his national Open for the second time.

Australian duo Jason Scrivener and Andrew Dodt were then at four under on a congested leaderboard, with 42 players under par.

Karlberg had spoken of his nerves and excitement at teeing off as a defending champion for the first time but he showed no signs of nerves as he put his approach on the 11th to five feet for his first birdie.

Back-to-back gains followed on the 14th and 15th and he repeated the trick at the first and second to hit the summit.

Molinari played a beautiful approach to the par three 12th for his opening birdie and turned in 32 with some help from a stunning, curling 20-foot putt on the 16th. He then also took advantage of the first and second.

Scrivener had a share of the lead when the second delay came and he added four further birdies and two bogeys after the resumption to get to four under after 15 holes.

Dodt had five birdies and a single bogey in 14 holes to join him at that mark.

Italian amateur Federico Zucchetti was pleasing the locals at three under alongside Spanish duo Adrian Otaegui and Miguel Angel Jiménez, England's David Horsey, Welshman Rhys Davies, Swede Robert Karlsson and China's Li Haotong.

At one point there had been ten players in a share of the lead at three under with Horsey and Scrivener both breaking out of the group before Karlberg and Molinari made their moves.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1MOLINARI, FrancescoITA18-22
2WILLETT, DannyENG18-21
T3ELVIRA, NachoESP18-18
T3PAISLEY, ChrisENG18-18
T5HORSEY, DavidENG18-16
T5BLAND, RichardENG18-16

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