US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick set the clubhouse target in the DS Automobiles Italian Open, despite bemoaning an “inconsistent” display in Rome.
Fitzpatrick had to complete the final three holes of his first round on Friday following Thursday’s weather delay and made two birdies and one bogey to complete an opening 65.
The world number 11 then started his second round on the back nine at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club and bogeyed the 10th, but followed that with five straight birdies to open up a four-shot lead.
However, Fitzpatrick dropped shots on the 16th and 17th and made his first par of the day on the 18th, before covering the front nine in level par with two birdies and two bogeys.
“Pretty inconsistent really,” was how Fitzpatrick summed up his day.
“I’ve played some really good stuff, (made) some sloppy mistakes which was obviously disappointing but plenty of birdies, which was always a positive. Going into the weekend in the position I’m in, I’m very happy.”
Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald, who will lead Europe’s bid to regain the trophy at the same venue next year, lies three shots off the lead following a 68 which included a two-shot penalty for playing the wrong ball.
Donald was three under par for the day when the incident occurred on his seventh hole of the day, leading to a triple-bogey seven.
“I did something I don’t think I’ve ever done in golf,” the former world number one explained. “I hit the wrong ball on 16 which was frustrating.
“I hit a poor tee shot left in the rough. The spotter kind of went straight to the ball and I just assumed it was mine and mine was a few feet left of it. It was a costly seven.”