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Matteo Manassero took an afternoon clubhouse lead, posting a 67 after his compatriots Edoardo and Francesco carded rounds of 68.
Manassero has so far failed to live up to his showing as an amateur at Turnberry in 2009 on his last two Open visits, missing the cut at both St. George’s and Muirfield, but his five-under-par has left him well placed, and he feels that this could represent an excellent opportunity to win his first Major.
“While in Turnberry I was in really good form,” said Manassero. “I just won The Amateur Championship and I was playing really, really well. But when you don’t arrive to golf course like this in form it’s just so difficult to eve stay for the weekend. It wasn’t my head. I would say the main thing is you don’t play really well and you just miss the cut.
“I like [the course]. It’s fair, flat, where you hit your shot it’s going to roll on that line. If I ever win an Open, I don’t think I’ll win it on a golf course that I don’t like. So the fact that I like it, it’s already a good thing.
“The main preparation for The Open, I’ve done it in Aberdeen and it was just the best preparation I could’ve had. We had strong wind, little wind, calm wind, different directions of wind and the course was firm. It was really linksy. I put myself in a very links frame of mind.”
The 21-year-old edged out his fellow Italians on the leaderboard, Edoardo and Francesco Molinari, but is delighted to see them playing well.
“It’s fantastic,” he said. “I knew they were playing solid golf. I saw in the practice round that Edoardo was playing really, really solid. And I’m always sure that Francesco will do something well on this kind of golf course, so very good for Italian golf.
“We got off to a fast start, all of us. It’s going to be wonderful to have a few Italians up there on Sunday afternoon. It’s going to be fun if there is.”