Sjoholm out in front in Turin

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Joel Sjoholm shot a flawless eight-under-par 64 to claim a two-shot lead after the first round of the BMW Italian Open.

Joel Sjoholm shot a flawless eight-under-par 64 to claim a two-shot lead after the first round of the BMW Italian Open.

After missing the cut in Switzerland a fortnight ago as well as in The Netherlands last weekend, the Swede bounced back with eight birdies to finish a shot ahead of Lee Slattery, who completed his round late in the day.

The 27-year-old started with two birdies in his first three holes and reached the turn at Royal Park I Roveri in 32 before picking up further shots at the 11th, 12th, 13th and 18th.

“I want revenge,” he told europeantour.com. “The last two weeks I actually played quite good golf.

“Normally when I score well, I have to putt well. The last few weeks I’ve putted quite poorly and missed the cut by one stroke. Both times I felt like I had a good chance to make the cut, but you have to forget and keep moving on.

“I hit it basically everywhere. I was in the woods a lot and made some funny birdies today. It was a big, fighting 64 rather than a solid 64, but it’s great fun to be eight-under.”

Slattery made seven birdes with two coming in the final two holes as he eased one shot ahead of a group of seven.

South Africans Keith Horne and Garth Mulroy, France’s Victor Dubuisson, Gareth Maybin from Northern Ireland and English trio Richard Bland, David Howell and Richard McEvoy all shot 66 to form a seven-way tie for second.

“My game has been solid, but I’ve been unhappy a lot this season,” said McEvoy. “I started seeing a new coach a couple of months ago – Jonathan Yarwood – and the work we’ve been doing has been going really well. But I haven’t shot a round of five or six under for a while, so it’s pleasing to do it today.

“I haven’t been hitting the ball close enough to make many birdies, and I haven’t been confident enough with my swing to go at pins. That’s been the main reason, but now I’m feeling a lot better with my swing and my game.”

Defending champion Robert Rock shot a two-under-par 70 while European Ryder Cup team member Francesco Molinari made a solid start with a 68 with team-mate German Martin Kaymer and captain Jose Maria Olazabal a further shot adrift.

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