Storm puts injury and poor form behind him to lead Italian Open

England's Graeme Storm will seek forgiveness for missing his daughter's second birthday after claiming a share of the clubhouse lead in the rain-delayed Italian Open.

Storm carded an opening round of 67, five under par, to join fellow Englishman Robert Rock and Australian Marcus Fraser at the top of the leaderboard in Turin, with play set to continue until 9pm local time to compensate for a two-hour delay in the morning.

The 32-year-old former British amateur champion from Hartlepool had not planned on playing this week, but a shoulder injury, which contributed to his worst start to a season since 2005, forced his hand. "I thought if I played well in Seville last week I would not play as it was my daughter Grace's second birthday on Wednesday, but I missed the cut and here I am," explained Storm, winner of the French Open in 2007. "I shot 67 so hopefully she'll forgive me in time."

That missed cut in Seville was his fifth in eight events in 2010, although the former Walker Cup winner admitted he should never have played three of those tournaments on account of injury. Storm added: "This is the worst start to a season since I came back on tour. I was effectively out for four months with a rotator cuff injury in my left shoulder – bizarrely suffered playing water polo – and I'm just trying to get some form ahead of the big tournaments this summer. I injured myself in December but it was not diagnosed until I went to Abu Dhabi in January. I played three weeks in the Middle East and should never have played."

Storm almost did not play in Turin either after feeling "horrendous" when walking the Royal Park I Roveri course yesterday when rain washed out the pre-tournament pro-am.

"I felt horrendous after walking the course, I just sat down for an hour afterwards and then went to see the doctor and he told me I had a viral infection, some fluid in the inner ear," he added. "To shoot five under was a great score, I didn't expect it so maybe that's why, maybe I was relaxed.

"I played the front nine great but from the 11th to the 15th felt I was just trying to hang onto the score and dropped two shots before a good shot on the 15th perked me up."

Two more good shots on the 18th set up an eagle three to finish, although Storm admitted: "I pushed my second to the 18th a bit, I forgot the water was so near the green but knocked it to 12ft and holed it."

Fraser is seeking back-to-back victories after claiming the Ballantine's Championship in South Korea a fortnight ago, while Rock is still looking for his maiden Tour victory after finishing runner-up three times last year.

Home attention was focused on the professional debut of Italian teenager Matteo Manassero, who joined the paid ranks this week following a superb amateur career which saw him win the British Amateur Championship in 2009, finish 13th in the Open at Turnberry a month later and then 36th in the Masters at Augusta last month. And the 17-year-old did not disappoint with a typically composed round of 70, two under par, outscoring playing partner and European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie by six shots.

"He was very impressive, to do that as a 17-year-old," Montgomerie said of a playing partner almost 30 years his junior. "He has a good future ahead of him and I wish him all the best. My golf is non-explainable."

Manassero added: "It was a good round, I played steady for 18 holes. I really liked how I played. I was a little nervous, like always in the big tournaments, but fortunately I'm getting used to it.I don't want to rewind any part of my game. I didn't putt that well but I didn't have many chances so I like the way I played and hopefully it will stay like this."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence