John Daly bounced back from last week’s missed cut in Spain to share the early lead at the Italian Open in Milan today.
The former Open champion, who has slumped to 609th in the world, had six birdies and a bogey in his first 10 holes at Castello di Tolcinasco.
Now 42, Daly was alongside England’s Mark Foster, Scot Marc Warren and Swede Christian Nilsson on five-under-par, but Wales’s former Ryder Cup star Phillip Price was already out of the tournament.
Price was two over par after 10 holes and then retired complaining of nausea.
Nilsson had been the one to make the fastest start, racing to six under after 10. But he then bogeyed the 469-yard third.
Daly, on a two-week trip to Europe, has been having a terrible time on the US Tour this season, but he did finish last week’s event in Seville by playing the second nine holes of his second round in 32 and carried that on.
There was a six on his card at the long 12th, his third, but that followed his first birdie and he then picked up five more in the space of six holes.
Warren, World Cup winner for Scotland with Colin Montgomerie in China last November, was out in 33 after birdies at the 15th, 17th and 18th and then started for home with an eagle at the 526-yard first.
Foster also turned in 33 before picking up further shots on the 11th and 12th.
This week’s tournament was a golden opportunity for all of them, of course, with nearly all the European Tour’s biggest names away at the Players Championship in America.
Defending champion Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano was only one under after 11, while 1996 winner Jim Payne, now club professional at Southport and Ainsdale, dropped four shots in his first three holes, but had recovered to two over after 12.
Nick Dougherty was among the later starters, not sure whether he would score “67 or 87” just days after the funeral of his mother Ennis, who died of a heart attack on April 27.