TURIN, Italy – Francesco Molinari shot a 5-under 67 Friday to take a share of the lead on home soil after the second round of the Lindt Italian Open.
Aiming to duplicate his 2006 victory, Molinari is tied with Felipe Aguilar of Chile and Simon Thornton of Ireland at 9-under 135 at the Golf Club Torino.
A Turin native, Molinari has been the center of attention at the tournament.
"This is a special, special week for me," he said. "I was emotional yesterday on the 10th tee at 8;00 a.m. with only 50 people watching, so now with all these people on my course it's a great feeling."
Molinari, whose halved match with Tiger Woods ensured that Europe won the Ryder Cup outright in the 'Miracle at Medinah,' last fall, has been the center of attention all week as he bids to claim his national open for the second time.
"It has been brilliant so far so let's hope it continues to stay that way over the weekend," he said. "You have to embrace it, have fun; I smile on the course when I see people I know and I know they are rooting for me so I just try to enjoy it."
Molinari's Ryder Cup teammate Nicolas Colsaerts lost his overnight lead when he bogeyed the 16th and 18th to sit one stroke back at 8 under alongside Ireland's David Higgins and England's Steve Webster
"It's always tough to follow a day of prime striking," said Colsaerts, who shot 65 on Thursday. "I missed only one green yesterday and everything was going my way pretty much. Then I started with a bogey today with a 7-iron in my hand so that doesn't really get you in the greatest of moods."
Aguilar had recorded seven top-10 finishes this season by the first week of June, but though he has been quiet since then, he believes he is well placed to shine on a layout that suits his skills.
“I love this golf course because it suits my game which is about accuracy more than distance,” he said. “My driving stats are pretty good and you have to play the ball from the fairways around here because you are not going to have many birdie chances if you are playing out of the rough all the time.”
Former Ryder Cup Captain Jose Maria Olazabal, whose last European Tour win came in the Mallorca Classic eight years ago, is four off the lead on 5 under after adding a 68 to his opening 71.