Marc Warren flew the saltire in Monza with a round of 66 on the opening day of the Italian Open. The Scot’s five-under-par round included six birdies and a bogey and leaves him in a tie for ninth place.
On a good day for the tartan contingent, David Drysdale and Richie Ramsay both shot 67, three shots off the pace.
Defending champion Francesco Molinari is in a six-way tie for the lead. The home favourite carded nine birdies and two bogeys in a sparkling 64 to delight the Milan crowd.
Molinari, pictured, was joined by England’s Eddie Pepperell and Matt Wallace, Welshman Jamie Donaldson, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Alexander Bjork on seven under par.
George Coetzee and Byeong Hun An lie a shot further back, while Masters champion Sergio Garcia and English duo Matt Wallace and Chris Paisley and Warren are among eight players tied on five under.
Starting at the tenth hole, Molinari registered a hat-trick of birdies from the 14th which he capped by draining a brilliant 20 footer at the 16th.
He finished his front nine in style, chipping in for a birdie at the 18th to get to five under before picking up further shots at the first and second.
Molinari told the European Tour website: “Obviously it was another good day. I started pretty much where I left off last year, so it was great.
“It’s great to see the crowds. I think there’s a nice buzz around the place and I’m happy and proud to be part of it.”
A high-profile three-ball saw the top three in the Race to Dubai, Tommy Fleetwood, Garcia and Jon Rahm, teeing off together.
England’s Fleetwood, currently leading the rankings, hit a level-par 71 while third-placed Rahm came home in 67.
l Australian Cameron Smith’s blemish-free eight-under-par 64 catapulted him to the top of the leaderboard after the opening round of the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur.
Smith, who broke his duck on the PGA Tour in May at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans alongside Jonas Blixt, holds a one-shot lead at the end of a first day that was played in stifling conditions. Poom Saksansin and American pair Xander Schauffele and Keegan Bradley are breathing down Smith’s neck in the event, which is the first of three on the PGA Tour to be held in Asia in successive weeks.