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Maybin three clear after record

FIRST ROUND LEADERBOARD (GB & Ireland unless stated):
-7 G Maybin -4 R Jacquelin (Fra), M Higley, R Ramsay
Selected others: -2 J Daly (US) Level T Bjorn (Den) +1 C Montgomerie

Gareth Maybin
Gareth Maybin is three shots clear in the Italian Open

Northern Ireland's Gareth Maybin shot a course-record 64 to lead by three shots after the first round of the Italian Open in Turin.

Maybin had six birdies, one bogey and chipped in for an eagle two at the 13th to finish the day on seven under par.

England's Marcus Higley and Richie Ramsey of Scotland are tied with Raphael Jacquelin on four under.

John Daly carded a decent two-under 69 but Colin Montgomerie had an couple of double bogeys in his opening 72.

Maybin, beaten in a play-off at the South Africa Open in December, enjoyed an encouraging start with four birdies in his first 12 holes.

The Ballyclare man then sank his approach to the 404-yard 13th for an eagle two.

"The conditions were perfect and the course in immaculate order so there was a good chance to shoot a low number," he said.

"I drove the ball pretty good and putted very well to put myself in good shape."

Daly was annoyed at his finish, but after finishing last week's Spanish Open with a 69 the 43-year-old, banned by the US Tour for six months in November after being thrown in jail to sober up, drew positives from starting his second event back with the same score.

"I love the way I'm hitting the ball - I had a lot of opportunities out there," he said.

One bad swing put him in a bunker on the 17th, though, and he got a flyer from the rough at the last.

Ramsay shot to fame three years ago when he became the first Scot since 1898 to win the US Amateur crown.

He bogeyed the last two after going just over the green both times.

Compatriot Montgomerie made trips to the water for double bogeys both at the 197-yard 12th and 609-yard fifth.

The Ryder Cup captain did play the last four in two under, but asked if he had at least enjoyed that stretch he answered: "I am not enjoying any holes right now.

"It is no use and things have to got to change rapidly - I am going down in the rankings and it is terrible.

"I have got to play more to get myself out of this rut. There is no excuse for scoring over par here."

Darren Clarke fared even worse with a 74 - he bogeyed the first four holes - and former Open champion Paul Lawrie needed two more than that to get round.

Higley, from Yeovil, has made no fewer than 12 trips to the Tour qualifying school - and has failed every time. But he has twice come through the Challenge Tour and two years ago was joint runner-up in the St Omer Open.



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