Wood and Rock lead Italian hunt

A late birdie burst has rocketed Robert Rock into a share of the early clubhouse lead at the BMW Italian Open.

A birdie burst that enabled Robert Rock to pick up a shot at each of his last five holes has hoisted him into a share of the clubhouse lead with fellow Englishman Chris Wood at the BMW Italian Open.

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

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

Wood, a lanky 23-year-old, 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.

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.

Two shots further back in the clubhouse was France’s European Tour rookie Alex Kaleka, with Scott Jamieson and Joost Luiten also six under with two holes left to play.

Home favourite Matteo Manassero was five under coming down the last, with Ryder Cup star Francesco Molinari amongst the afternoon starters in his home city of Turin.

Jamieson – who picked up five shots in four holes from the tenth – birdied the 18th to lie third on seven under, while 18 year old Manassero converted from eight feet on the last to join Luiten and Kaleka in fourth.