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E. Molinari looks to join brother in The Open field

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There is still a chance for multiple Molinaris in the field next week at Royal Portrush.

Francesco Molinari is sure to tee it up at The Open, as he gets set to defend the title he won last year at Carnoustie. But there's still a chance that his older brother, Edoardo, will join him among the 156 participants next week in Northern Ireland.

The elder Molinari tied for ninth last week at the Irish Open, but that left him one shot short of earning a Portrush spot as part of the Open Qualifying Series. With another opportunity available this week at the Scottish Open, where the top three not otherwise qualified among the top 10 finishers will head to next week's major, Molinari grabbed a share of the lead with an 8-under 63.

Molinari played alongside his brother at the 2010 Ryder Cup, the same year he won this event at Loch Lomond. But ranked outside the top 600 in the world as recently as May, he's finished T-26 or better in each of his last four starts, including a pair of top-10s, and appears keen to build on that momentum this week at Renaissance.

Full-field scores from the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open

"I'm in a good place at the minute," Molinari told reporters. "It seems like every week I'm playing better. I'm building something every week and when you play golf like this, it's quite easy, but then everything can change in just a short amount of time. You just have to be careful and keep doing the same things, and hopefully the results will continue to improve."

Molinari finished T-7 at The Open in 2014 at Royal Liverpool, but he hasn't played the event since missing the cut in 2015 at St. Andrews.

He eagled the first hole and added another eagle on No. 7 en route to grabbing a share of the lead alongside Matt Kuchar, Romain Wattel and Nino Bertasio. The quartet highlighted a day of low scoring in which 28 players opened the tournament with rounds of 66 or better.

Not among that group were Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas, both of whom started with rounds of 4-under 67, while former champ Rickie Fowler is in danger of missing the cut after an even-par 71.