Stenson, Min Woo Lee lead the way at Italian Open

Henrik Stenson continues to muscle his way into European Ryder Cup selection with another impressive showing to share in setting a new course-record setting of a 7-under par 64 on the opening day of the 78th DS Automobiles Italian Open in Rome.

Stenson ended his day’s play tied at the top with Scottish Open winner Min Woo Lee of Australia and Finland’s Kalle Samooja with the trio out in the morning half of the draw.

Min Woo Lee Min Woo Lee (Credit: European Tour)

Stenson birdied his opening two holes en route to a bogey-free display on the revamped Marco Simone course, which is ironically next in line to host the Ryder Cup in 2023.

The champion Swede arrived in the Italian capital on the back of a third-place finish at the Omega European Masters and the week prior, Stenson shared fourth place in the Czech Masters.

“Once again I think I played a good round of golf”, said Stenson.

“I don’t want to make any mistakes early in terms of missing greens, so the few times I did I managed to keep a clean card and made some lovely putts to keep it tidy, so very happy with that.”

“More than anything I feel like I am in a good frame of mind to play golf and to try and get the best score out of my game. There is still more to wish for, but we take the positives and keep on working on the rest”.

23-year-old Min Woo Lee went one better than Stenson firing eight birdies with a lone bogey giving him a share of the opening round lead. The Western Australian currently sits at No.10 in the Race To Dubai and looks to be peaking at the right time of the season.

“It was a strong field and gave me a bit of belief in myself, and a bit of that confidence that I can step up on every shot and just do the same as what I just did at the Scottish Open,” said Lee.

“Life is nice when your golf is good.”

Fellow Aussie Scott Hend is one shot back in a share of 4th place thanks to a 6-under 65.