English duo start well in Turin

English duo Robert Rock and Chris Wood share the lead after the first round of the Italian Open in Turin.

English duo robert Rock and Chris Wood share the lead after the first round of the Italian Open in Turin.

A birdie burst that enabled Robert Rock to pick up a shot at each of his last five holes hoisted him into a share of the lead with 23-year-old Chris Wood, his playing partner for the day.

The English duo both signed for opening-round, 8-under-par 64s on Thursday – Rock, of course, going to the top with that spectacular blitz that included ten foot birdie putts at the seventh and ninth holes.

“Nine birdies and one bogey was good,” said Rock after his round.

“I love this course and it was good to be in a group where someone else was knocking them in and I enjoyed playing with Chris.

“I holed quite a lot of putts today, which is something that has been testing me over the last couple of months.”

Amazingly, the 34-year-old’s stunning inward 30 was only a stroke better than his compatriot Wood – who like Rock is seeking his maiden European Tour title.

Wood, who has twice finished in the top five at The Open Championship, turned in a one under par 35 but needed just 29 shots going home on the front nine.

“It was good playing with Rocky and we seemed to fire off each other. It was a good round without a bogey – always nice to play that way,” Wood told www.europeantour.com afterwards.

He started by picking up a hat-trick of shots from the first, birdied the long fifth, holed a 12 foot eagle putt after a magnificent second on the par five eighth and struck a fine approach to five feet on the ninth to set up another birdie.

Three players are thid for third a further shot behind on seven under par after rounds of 65 – Scotland’s Scott Jamieson, who got going early with an eagle and a birdie, and Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark and Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello, who both shot bogey-free rounds.

Seven players finished tied for sixth on six under, including Italian pair Matteo Manassero and Francesco Molinari, and Welshman Rhys Davies.

18-year-old Manassero made his debut at this event last year, and returns to the Royal Park I Riveri already a far more experienced and pedigreed player, with nearly £1.5m in prize money earned and two European Tour titles to his name.

Manassero made five birdies and an eagle at the par-five 11th, while compatriot Molinari made eagle at the same hole.

Davies started poorly with a bogey straight out of the blocks, but followed that up with eight birdies, including four-in-a-row starting at the fifth.

Colin Montgomerie, in search of a strong finish to force his way into the Open and avoid missing the Championship for the first time since 1990, unfortunately did not start well. The Scot signed for a 75, which included a double bogey at the 13th.