Lawlor one back of Perrino ahead of Galgorm finale

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Brendan Lawlor (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Tommaso Perrino will take a one-shot lead into the final round of the G4D @ ISPS Handa World Invitational Presented by Aviv Clinics after firing a brilliant 68 on day one at Galgorm Castle Golf Club.

The Italian is looking for a first G4D Tour win and he put himself in pole position as he moved to four under, but he will face some stiff competition in round two, with defending champion and World Number One Brendan Lawlor and World Number Two Kipp Popert just a shot back.

“This is a brilliant day for me,” said Perrino. “I played well, very solid and had a very good feeling with the putter.

“I asked for some pressure at the end with the bogey and not birdieing the 18th but it was a good round and a good feeling because this year I’ve worked less to improve my swing. To arrive here at this great course and fire a 68 is unbelievable.

“I’ve started to work on the swing with my first ever coach and we enjoy it together and they give me confidence in my swing and the work goes on.

“It’s the first time my family has been to see me play and my brother is my caddie and it was incredible because I love my brother and he’s a great player. It’s a great day with the family.

“It will be a big battle tomorrow because I think Brendan is the best player at a course that he plays very well every time.”

Perrino made a fast start with birdies on the second and third and added another on the eighth before dropping a shot to turn in 34.

A hat-trick of gains from the 11th then had him at five under but he bogeyed the 16th and will head into the last 18 holes with a slender advantage.

Lawlor recovered from a bogey on the first with gains on the second, fifth, 16th and 17th, while Popert – a two-time G4D Tour winner in 2022 – made birdies on the sixth, tenth, 16th and last with a single dropped shot on the 13th.

American Chris Biggins was at two over, two shots clear of Juan Postigo Arce, with Bradley Smith a further two shots back.

The final round is already underway on Tuesday. Lawlor and Perrino both bogeyed the opening hole with Popert two-over through two holes at the time of writing.

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