Stone starts Italian Open with 3-under 68

Brandon Stone was the best of the South Africans after the opening round on Thursday of the European Tour’s DS Automobiles Italian Open at Marco Simone Golf Club in Rome as he carded a three-under-par 68.

He made five birdies and three bogeys to have a share of 17th, four shots behind the leaders who were Kalle Samooja of Finland, Min Woo Lee of Australia and Swede Henrik Stenson who all carded seven-under-par 64 to open. They had a one-stroke lead over Edoardo Molinari, Eddie Pepperell and Scott Hend.

Wilco Nienaber had his best start for some time with a two-under 69 in a round that had six birdies and four bogeys. Daniel van Tonder, Haydn Porteous, Dean Burmester and Garrick Higgo were on one-under, Darren Fichardt, George Coetzee and Justin Walters on one-over, Zander Lombard and Justin Harding on two-over and Thomas Aiken was on six-over.

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