Robertson lifted by return to form

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The Independent Online

Scotland's Dean Robertson has not won anything since the Italian Open in 1999, but after an opening 68 back at the event here yesterday the 34-year-old said: "I'm enjoying golf more than ever."

Scotland's Dean Robertson has not won anything since the Italian Open in 1999, but after an opening 68 back at the event here yesterday the 34-year-old said: "I'm enjoying golf more than ever."

The round left Robertson only two behind the leader, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano - and a massive 10 ahead of the former Open champion, Mark Calcavecchia, whose day was memorable for a very different reason. He went off to get married again at Lake Coma after playing.

Robertson looked a real star in the making when he edged out Padraig Harrington by a stroke in Turin six years ago.In 1999 Robertson partnered Colin Montgomerie in the World Cup in Malaysia. But it was on his return that things started to change. A mysterious virus left him unable to sleep or eat properly for three months and his weight tumbled from 11 stones to nine and a half.

Robertson then began to suffer from clinical depression and missed much of the 2002 and 2003 seasons. So far this year he has made only one halfway cut in seven tournaments, but he was always going to look forward to returning to Italy.

"It's no coincidence I've started well here because my Italian Open record is really good," he said.

Robertson led when he completed an outward 31 with an eagle on the 513-yard ninth, but the Spanish rookie Fernandez-Castano took over at the top when he finished his round by eagling the same hole. The 24-year-old leads by a stroke from England's Simon Khan, Ireland's Gary Murphy, Welshman Bradley Dredge and Argentina's Sebastian Fernandez.

They all completed 18 holes in brilliant sunshine, but in mid-afternoon play was suspended as a thunderstorm approached.

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