Thursday, May 14, 2009

BALTRAY, Ireland (AP) Francesco Molinari took advantage of calm conditions to shoot a 9-under 63 Thursday for a one-shot lead after the first round of the Irish Open.

Johan Edfors had a 64, while Paul Lawrie, Oliver Wilson, Nick Dougherty, Robert Rock, Shiv Kapur, Jamie Donaldson and Roop Kakko were in a group three shots behind the leader.

John Daly, who finished second at the Italian Open on Sunday, birdied the last hole for a 68. He expressed relief that the wind didn't blow on the seaside course after battering players in two days of practice.

``It was cold and rainy,'' Daly said. ``I don't think I'd have broken par the other two days, but the lack of wind made it easier.''

Rory McIlroy shot 69, while playing partner Colin Montgomerie had a 70. Darren Clarke had a 71 and Padraig Harrington shot 73.

Molinari made a 30-footer for eagle at the long third hole, and another at the 13th.

The 20-year-old McIlroy started slowly with two bogeys on his first three holes but, played the last 10 in five under.

``My game did not feel comfortable but I got round in three under, so I'm not out of it,'' he said.

Daly sprayed some tee shots, but a 7-iron got him out of the rough at the first and he saved par.

``I feel like I'm doing better with the putter. I chipped and putted pretty good,'' said Daly, playing his third tournament in Europe while serving a six-month PGA Tour suspension.

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