Scottish Open, Francesco Molinari shoots 62. July 12 2012
Francesco Molinari (Getty Images)
The Scottish Open was set alight by a magnificent first round of -10 under par, 62 from Francesco Molinari at Castle Stuart on Thursday. Francesco leads the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open after a blast of ten birdies, and in so doing set a new course record 62 at Castle Stuart Golf Links. That feat was accomplished against a field that included World Number One Luke Donald and ten Major Champions. Francesco is in fine current form, he finished in second place in the Alstom Open de France on Sunday thanks to a closing round of 64. Luke Donald is handily placed with a first round of -5 under par for a 67, he knows that tournaments are not won on the first day, and some more solid play from him will put him in contention come Sunday afternoon.
Francesco and his elder brother Edoardo were partners in The Ryder Cup, just after Edoardo had won the title at Loch Lomond two years ago. Edoardo is currently recovering from wrist surgery he received two weeks ago and is likely to spend the entire summer rehabilitating. Francesco was thinking of his ailing elder brother, as well as his good form;
"It would be nice to do well this week, for him as well, to cheer him up a little bit. I know it's not going to last forever, but I hope to keep this going a little bit longer, obviously next week, but the next month or so is really big for The Ryder Cup. That probably more than The Open, is in my mind."
Francesco is a Ryder Cup and Omega Mission Hills World Cup winner, and also has a World Golf Championship victory to his name, he is now eyeing a Major Championship to add to his trophy list.
In second spot at -8 under par with a round of 64 is Spaniard Alejandro Cañizares , with two other players another shot back 0n -7 under par, Søren Kjeldson from Denmark and Raphaël Jacquelin of France.
Phil Mickelson had a poor opening round of +1 over par 73, and now needs something special just to make the cut and keep playing links golf in his preparation for The Open. You have to wonder about Phil's scheduling, he has left his wife and children on vacation in Italy, missing out on a tour of the Vatican, to come to Scotland and prepare for The Open. He surely can not be in the right frame of mind to seriously compete, only the top 65 and ties make it through the 36-hole cut and Phil is not currently inside the top 100. Phil was not expecting help from above;
"I think everybody is looked on equally and you have to make your own destiny."
Tomorrow is another day, and I look forward to reporting on which players survive the dreaded cut.