Italian Open: Jamie Donaldson, Eddie Pepperell & Matt Wallace among first-round leaders

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Jamie Donaldson sealed victory for Europe in the 2014 Ryder Cup
Italian Open first round leaderboard
-7 K Aphibarnrat (Tha), A Bjork (Swe), J Donaldson (Wal), F Molinari (Ita), E Pepperell (Eng), M Wallace (Eng); -6 G Coetzee (SA), BH Ahn (Kor); -5 C Paisley (Eng), A Noren (Swe), M Pavon (Fra), G Havret (Fra), M Warren (Sco), S Garcia (Spa), A Canizares (Spa), A Pavan (Ita)
Selected others:-4 D Drysdale (Sco), R Ramsay (Sco), D Brooks (Eng), D Howell (Eng); -3 M Fitzpatrick (Eng); -2 L Westwood (Eng), L Donald (Eng), S Lowry (Ire), G McDowell (NI)

Former Ryder Cup player Jamie Donaldson shot a seven-under-par 64 to take a share of a six-way lead after the opening round of the Italian Open.

English duo Eddie Pepperell and Matt Wallace join the Welshman at the top of the leaderboard, along with defending champion Francesco Molinari of Italy.

Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Sweden’s Alexander Bjork complete the leading pack in Monza.

“When I had a chance of holing a putt, I made it,” said Donaldson, 41.

“I generally putted a lot better, and tee-to-green was pretty good.”

Donaldson reached a career high of 28th in the world rankings in 2013 but is currently 296th after struggling with form and fitness.

He started with back-to-back birdies on the first two holes in Italy, adding six more and dropping only one shot on the par-three 12th.

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