Former Ryder Cup star Edoardo Molinari just one off lead at Porsche European Open
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 06/06/21 10:07pm
Matthew Southgate and Maverick Antcliff share the lead heading into the final round of the Porsche European Open as Edoardo Molinari made a big move on day two in Hamburg.
Antcliff birdied the last three holes to cap a 68 which hauled him level at the top of the leaderboard with Southgate, who had earlier fired a 69 to boost his chances of a maiden European Tour title.
The top two will be glancing over their shoulders at former Ryder Cup star Molinari after the Italian produced the round of the tournament at Green Eagle Golf Courses, carding seven birdies and holing out for eagle at the seventh in a superb 65.
The 40-year-old has not won in over four years, but he is looking forward to the challenge of ending his drought on the final day after embracing the test of one of the toughest courses on the Tour schedule.
"Everything was very good, I have to say," said Molinari, who won twice in 2010 to earn a Ryder Cup debut in which he played alongside younger brother Francesco at Celtic Manor. "My putting was decent, not spectacular, but decent. All in all, it was a very good day.
"I think this is one of the best courses we play all year. I tweeted yesterday after my three-over round that it's one of the best. It just shows, you need to hit the ball well and every part of your game needs to be on point. We should play more courses like this."
Despite the difficulty of the course, as proved by only 18 players being under par after 36 holes, Antcliff has made only one bogey over the first two rounds as he also targets a Tour breakthrough on Monday.
"Like everyone else, I'm just trying to hit fairways and greens," said the young Australian, who was a couple of inches short of landing himself a new Porsche for a hole-in-one at the 17th. "If you get a nice number and a good angle, just try and take advantage of it.
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"I was just trying to stay patient out there, hit fairways and greens, just try and chip away at it. There's a lot of really good holes out there, the par-fives are long, and you just have to be in position and when you get a chance just capitalise on.
"I'll just keep doing the same. Good golf gets you in a good position, just keep doing that and good results happen. So I'll keep doing more of the same."
Scottish duo David Law and Scott Jamieson are alongside Molinari on four under with Darius Van Driel also tied for third, while first-round leader Thomas Detry slipped to three under after a 73.
Paul Casey lifted himself back into contention after rebounding from his opening 75 with a resolute 69 that he closed out with back-to-back birdies, and he will start his final round with five strokes to make up on the leaders.
"I hit some great putts, some great shots, but it's just a very difficult golf course," said the defending champion. "I try not to get frustrated. It's the same for everyone, it's golf isn't it? It is what it is.
"I'm glad I finished strong, I wanted to make the eagle on the last and got a bit confident, a bit aggressive on that putt but I wanted a roar for the people who came out today. Here we are, we get to tee it up on Monday which will be exciting."