Edoardo Molinari has Open hopes after 63

Edoardo Molinari impressed on Day 1 of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Edoardo Molinari impressed on Day 1 of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
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Portofino or Portrush? At the moment, it’s the former for Edoardo Molinari. But it could be the latter if he maintains his promising start in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.

On a low-scoring opening day at The Renaissance Club, the 38-year-old made two eagles and five birdies in carding an eight-under-par 63, which earned him a share of the lead with fellow Italian Nino Bertasio, as well as American Matt Kuchar and Frenchman Romain Wattel.

Molinari is bidding for his second success in the event, having landed the title at Loch Lomond in 2010, the same year he won the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles to secure one of Colin Montgomerie’s wildcards for the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.

Also in his sights on the East Lothian coast is a ticket into next week’s Open Championship, which, of course, will see his younger brother, Francesco, defend the Claret Jug after his title triumph at Carnoustie 12 months ago.

The final three qualifying spots on offer on the European Tour are on the line here, going to the leading non-exempt players in the top 10 on Sunday evening.

“It would obviously be special to be there when Francesco is the defending champion,” said Edoardo. “That would be a great thing. But I’m not planning on going if I don’t make it in. I’ve planned a summer holiday with my wife and two kids, so I definitely won’t go. If I’m not at Portrush, I will be lying on the beach in Portofino, although I’ll definitely watch some in the evenings – over the weekend, certainly.”

He added: “I’m not really thinking about the Open yet. I’m just trying to play some good golf and post low scores here. I have a good record in Scotland, I love playing here and love the links golf.”

l American Kevin Na has withdrawn from next week’s Open due to injury. He has been replaced in the field by Slovakia’s Rory Sabbatini, pictured, with American Brian Harman now first reserve. Former world No 1 Martin Kaymer is second reserve.