Golf: Paisley In Front But Willett Lies In Wait

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Englishman Chris Paisley opened up a one-shot lead during the second round of the Italian Open, before heavy rain and the threat of lightning led to an early end to the day’s play. Another Englishman, Masters Champion Danny Willett, sits just one shot back.

Almost five hours were lost on Thursday at Golf Club Milano due to similar weather, with many of the early starters facing 36 holes on day two with only a short break between their first and second rounds.

Paisley was one under par after four holes when he came off the course on Thursday evening, and the Englishman returned to post a bogey-free 66 and sit just two shots behind overnight leader Rikard Karlberg.

He continued his blemish-free run in the afternoon, making five birdies in 13 holes to get to ten under and open up a one-shot lead over Masters Tournament champion Danny Willett. Willett also has an unblemished round which featured four birdies in eight holes.

Chris Paisley: “It feels great. It hasn’t been the best season for me so far, so it’s nice to be playing some good golf finally. Going bogey-free through 31 holes is obviously a huge positive, because I’ve been making too many silly mistakes this season. I scrambled really well in the first round and made a few important par saves, then today I started striking the ball well and hit some really good iron shots. So I was a bit gutted when they called us in because I was hitting my stride.”

Play was stopped at 3.36pm with a torrential downpour flooding the course, and while attempts were made to get the players back out, the threat of lightning meant they would not return.

The action is set to resume at 7.30am on Saturday morning, with the second wave of players – including Karlberg – all yet to begin their second rounds.

David Williams, Tournament Director of the Italian Open: “We had some prolonged spells of heavy rain, which have put the course under very quickly. We’ve just got to wait and see what happens through the night, if we had a dry night and some reasonable weather over the weekend, then we could still get four rounds in and finish on time on Sunday night. But that’s only if everything runs smoothly, which it hasn’t done so far.”

Clubhouse leader Richard Green was one of just four players to complete their second rounds. The Australian sits on eight under par alongside Chris Hanson and Alexander Levy, one shot clear of Andy Sullivan and Karlberg.

Green said, “We’re very fortunate to have got two rounds done. The guys who haven’t even gone out yet have certainly got a raw deal, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes. The course was already pretty wet and this rain is only going to make matters worse, so I feel a bit sorry for the guys.

“We’ve definitely struck it lucky so far. It was flat calm out there this morning, and this afternoon the conditions were again perfect, apart from when the rain moved in on the final hole. But you still have to make the most of your luck, and I managed to do that today.”

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