6/1/2018 11:34:19 PM

Germany's Kaymer hits form to take Italian Open halfway lead


Milan, Italy: Germany's Martin Kaymer hit eight birdies in a flawless second round eight-under-par 63 to surge to the halfway lead at the Italian Open in Brescia on Friday.

The 33-year-old two-time major winner opened up a one-shot lead on five fellow Ryder Cup players at the Gardagolf Country Club in northeastern Italy.

Kaymer, who has slumped to 117th in the world rankings, climbed back into contention after his opening round 68 on the par-71 course and stands at 11 under par.

Home hope Francesco Molinari, bidding for a third Italian Open win a week after his triumph at the PGA Championship in Wentworth, is one of five players one-stroke behind.

Molinari hit five birdies for a five-under-par 66. The 35-year-old Italian sits alongside Spain's Rafa Cabrera Bello, Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell, Belgian Thomas Pieters and England's Danny Willett.

"It has been a while that I played that solid without making a mistake," said Kaymer, whose last tournament victory was at the US Open in 2014.

"I think I was getting very close recently, but that positivity was missing on the golf courses because I haven't had a lot of results recently. I have been playing well, I just couldn't see a good score.

"It was just a matter of putting the right mental attitude on to the golf course."

The German accelerated through the field without a single dropped shot to post an 11-under total.

Willett has also struggled with injuries and form since his Major breakthrough at the 2016 Masters Tournament. 

He carded four birdies in a 67, while McDowell, who has not won on the European Tour since 2014, had a round of 66 as he and Cabrera Bello, who signed for a 67, set the morning pace. 

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