Daly warms up nicely for Baltray

 

Italian Open:Daniel Vancsik took the title by a runaway six strokes but it will be John Daly making the headlines ahead of his arrival at the Irish Open after a 66 moved him into a share of second at the Italian Open in Turin. Vancsik shot a 65 win his second tour title and pick up a cheque for €213,000.

A week after his 43rd birthday Daly, ranked 794th in the world, banked €96,500. It will go down well considering the American’s much publicised financial difficulties.

This was the former Open champion's second event back from a four-month lay-off.

In November he was given a six-month US Tour ban after being thrown in jail to sober up and in February he underwent gastric band surgery after his weight ballooned to 20 stones.

Daly has already shed four stones and perhaps he has also matured - there was no talk of him reacting this time in the way he did when he last finished second.

That was the 2005 American Express world championship in San Francisco. After losing a play-off to Tiger Woods he drove to Las Vegas and lost over €900,000 gambling.

He had not had a top 10 finish between then and now, yet what Daly spoke about was not of wild celebrations, but of a comeback which next week takes him to Baltray and the Irish Open.

"That should be a blast," he said after adding a 66 to his three opening rounds of 69. "I am way ahead of where I thought I'd be and I'm very happy."

Only a month ago he cut a sad figure selling his own merchandise from a trailer outside Augusta National while The Masters was taking place.

There was speculation then that he was close to bankruptcy and he admitted himself: "Everybody knows I need the money."

Sharing second place with England's Robert Rock and Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin will certainly help.

Vancsik picked up over £190,000 for his second Tour victory and, as with the first, he left the rest trailing in his wake.

One of those was Ireland’s Gareth Maybin who shot a course-record 64 in his first round. The Ulsterman could only manage a 72 for an eight-under-par finish, while Michael McGeady was two behind him after a 71.

Gary Murphy finished with a 69 for a three under total, but Jonathan Caldwell was tied for 67th on three over after a 73.