David Carey carded an even par round of 71 to head the Irish challenge on day one of a testing Antognolla Alps Open where only 28 players broke par.
The Dubliner fired four birdies amongst a two bogeys and a double on a tricky opening day in Italy where Joel Moscatel and Stefano Pitoni head the leaderboard on five-under par.
Carey sits in a tie for 29th at even, one shot clear Paul McBride and Gary Hurley while Simon Bryan and Jonathan Yates were a stroke further back at plus-two. Rhys Clarke was at five-over par after a 76 on a wet day in Italy.
Leader after the morning rounds was Joel Moscatel from Spain with a three-stroke lead when he spoke to reporters post-round.
“I played great today,” said Joel. “It was tough at the beginning because of the weather with the rain plus it’s a tricky course. The greens are really difficult. You need to put the ball in the right spot every time.
“On the front nine I made the first bogey then I started making putts. My wedges were really good today, so I started making birdies. Then on the second nine I didn’t make that many birdies, but I can’t complain because I played them super well so I’m happy.”
Starting from the 10th, the Spanish amateur’s only bogey came on the uphill par 4 14th quickly followed by 4 birdies in a row then 2 more birdies on the back nine.
Stefano Pitoni, an experienced Alps campaigner having won three tournaments in 2016, headed out in the afternoon also from the 10th. He said that the key to his game today was his excellent short game, especially his putting as he sank some long ones. The seven birdies on his card bear witness, but two bogeys on the home nine held him back from the overall lead. He too confirmed that the Antognolla Golf course is very physically demanding and that the rain made the fairway shots particularly difficult.
The difficult playing conditions are supported by the statistics with only 28 players coming in under par, eight players on par with just five eagles out there on Wednesday. Things do not look set to improve drastically with more rain forecast overnight and on Thursday. The players are going to need resilience and focus to make their mark when they tee off at 7:30am.
- Full scoring HERE
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