Storm Rock Fraser hold early lead at Italian Open


TURIN, Italy – Graeme Storm, Robert Rock and Marcus Fraser all shot 5-under 67s Thursday to share the early lead in the first round of the Italian Open.

Storm had planned to skip the tournament because of his daughter’s birthday this week, but changed his mind after missing the cut last week in Spain.

“I shot 67 so hopefully she will forgive me,” the Englishman said.

Besides missing the cut last week, Storm has failed to play the final weekend four other times in 2010.

“It is my worst start to a season since I came out on tour. But I have had a shoulder injury troubling me for four months and I am just trying to get some form ahead of the big tournaments this summer,” Storm said. “And I have been having some flu symptoms this week so to shoot 5 under was a great score.”

The biggest gallery of the day was following 17-year-old Matteo Manassero (70), a young Italian making his professional debut.

“I enjoyed it,” said Manassero, the low amateur at last month’s Masters. “I played good golf and I stayed patient.”

Scottish veteran Colin Montgomerie (76) played alongside Manassero.

“I was very impressed by Matteo,” Montgomerie said. “Very impressed that he could shoot that at 17 years old.”

Also, little known Martin Ureta of Chile made five birdies in six holes early in the round but dropped two shots at the end to finish at 3 under.

The start of play at the Royal Park Roveri Course was delayed by about two hours because of heavy rain over the previous five days.

“On Wednesday, when it was still pouring down, the prospects of play looked grim,” tournament director Jamie Birkmyre said. “But once it stopped the local greenstaff did a great job. … to limit the delay before we could start to just two hours was miraculous.”