Simon Thornton shares Turin lead
Bradford-born golfer nine under and one ahead of David Higgins after a 67 in the Italian Open
Ireland’s David Higgins carded a three-under 69 to move to eight under at the Italian Open in Turin. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
Ireland’s Simon Thornton will head into the weekend at the Italian Open in Turin as one of three joint-leaders after a 67 moved him to nine under par on Friday.
After a bogey at the 17th, it looked like the Newcastle resident would have to settle for a place alongside compatriot David Higgins, whose 69 earlier in the day saw him assume the clubhouse lead on eight under for a short time. However, Thornton managed to dig out a birdie at the last to move alongside leaders Felipe Aguilar (66) of Chile and Italian Francesco Molinari (67).
The bogey at the par-four 17th was the only blot on Thornton’s impressive card after he turned in 33 thanks to birdies at one, two and seven, before he picked up shots at the 10th, 13th and last.
Forty-year-old Kerryman Higgins, who has just one top-three finish to his name in more than 200 European Tour events, posted a halfway total of 136 that left with Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts (71) and England’s Steve Webster (69) for company.
The world number 684 said: “I didn’t hit it as close as yesterday but if you keep hitting the fairways on this course you can manage it and get a lot of opportunities and I am good at doing that. This is a good course for me, if I play well I have a good chance. A lot of the other courses are very long and I am trying to hit it over corners, but this one is about hitting it down the middle all day long and I’m good at that.”
A 69 left Damien McGrane in contention on four under, but Peter Lawrie missed the cut after a one-under 71 left him just shy of the mark on level par. Gareth Maybin also bowed out after a 71 left him one over, while Michael Hoey finished two over after a second round of 69.
Turin native and joint-leader Molinari delighted the crowds that turned out to watch him on his home course when he carded his 67 at Golf Club Torino.
The 30-year-old has been the centre of attention all week as he bids to claim his national open for the second time, but said: “It adds a little bit of pressure but it’s good, it gives you an extra motivation to do well and get focused for 18 holes.
“I said at the beginning of the week I didn’t want to think of anything but try to enjoy the week, try to make some birdies and I’ll try to do the same Saturday and Sunday. It doesn’t really matter that I won before, this is a special, special week for me. I was emotional yesterday on the 10th tee at 8am with only 50 people watching so now with all these people on my course it’s a great feeling.