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Wind is the main defence of this Mediterranean links course, but there was hardly a breath of it during much of the day.
The last winner of this event on this golf course was the South African James Kingston in 2021, he opened his week with a 3 under par round of 69, while the Englishman Simon Khan went one better carding a 4-under par 68 which included a hole in one on the 3rd hole..
Four players share fourth place on -6 after opening up their week with a round of 66. Phillip Price, Thomas Gögele, Simon Brown and Jose Manuel Carriles are all very much in touch with the leaders going into day two.
Adilson Da Silva has won three times already this season on the Legends Tour and he’s made a strong start to this event with a 65 to sit at -7 and one shot off the lead.
“I played really good, I hit the ball quite well, my tee I was quite happy with it – so I gave myself a lot of chances without the wind.”
The Brazilian made a fast start from the 10th tee, making 5 birdies in his opening 6 holes.
“It was a nice start, you need to make those putts, those 8 footers and also with no wind there it was like the course was just sitting there and the greens are so good, nice and soft so you can attack the pin. I just tried not to get too far ahead of myself because sometimes you think I need to birdie this hole or that one, when you just need to stay in the present and I think I did that on the front nine.”
Englishman Andrew Raitt shares the lead after the opening day having registered a 64 alongside Peter Baker – the man who leads the MCB Road to Mauritius rankings with just four events left this season.
“It was great fun, great playing with Peter – he’s been playing great this year, so if you can keep up with him, stick with him a little bit then you’ll be alright at the end of the week.”
Raitt finished his round with a flourish, carding three birdies in the final four holes.
“I holed a nice putt at 15, then had a nice bunker shot with a wedge to 3 feet and holed that so I was a nice end to a good day really.
“I’ve been working on trying to weaken my grip a bit over the last couple of weeks but I got to the range this morning and I was awful, I was stuck between two things today! I kept hitting it right on the front nine when Peter was making all the birdies and it seemed to all go a lot better on the back nine.”
Peter Baker has already won three times this season and is in a share of pole-position with his playing partner after day one. He made an impressive start with four birdies and an eagle between the 3rd and 8th holes.
“It was amazing, they just kept going in for me from everywhere really, I had a really good run there with the putter – had some good shots in and holed them which makes a big difference.
“Very pleased with that, obviously eight under is a really good score so I am really pleased with that start.
“It was probably playing as easy as it can do, but you’ve still got to do it and as you can see today’s scoring was very good.”
Baker isn’t getting too carried away with himself just yet, nor is he taking for granted his position at the top of the leader board.
“I wouldn’t say I get used to it but it’s nice to be up there, but there’s a lot of golf to be played and I’ve just got to play hard and try to shoot some low scores and see where it all ends up.
“I’d like it to get a little bit windier, obviously I think this course is built for that with the windy conditions – I think those conditions are something all the players would enjoy.”
23 players are within four shots of the lead now going into Friday’s second round of the Sergio Melpignano Senior Italian Open.