Min Woo Lee leads Italian Open at halfway stage

National Sports

GUIDONIA, Italy (AP)Australia’s Min Woo Lee opened up a two-shot lead after the second round of the Italian Open on Friday, while Tommy Fleetwood remained in contention for a sixth European Tour title despite a late stumble.

Lee, who won his second European Tour title at the Scottish Open in July, shot a 3-under 68 at Marco Simone Golf Club, which will host the Ryder Cup in 2023.

That gave the 23-year-old a halfway total of 10-under 132, two shots clear of Fleetwood, Johannes Veerman, Adri Arnaus and Mikko Korhonen.

”Very solid. I made nice putts coming down the stretch,” said Lee, who now faces the task of retaining his lead with rain set to arrive over the weekend.

”I’m not sure how it’ll play wet. But I’m looking forward to the challenge,” he said.

Fleetwood recovered from a bogey on the 10th, his opening hole of the day, to card six birdies and move temporarily to the top of the leaderboard, only to make a double bogey on his penultimate hole for the second day in succession.

”This year, especially the second half of the year, I feel like I have got off to a good start in quite a few events and then never really kept it going, so today was good,” said Fleetwood, who will be part of Europe’s Ryder Cup team at Whistling Straits at the end of the month.

”I had spells where I hit it really good and then I had spells where it wasn’t very good, so I guess that is the game, but all in all very happy to turn up after a couple of weeks off and to have a great couple days, and now a weekend with it all to play for.

Former British Open champion Henrik Stenson, who is pushing for a Ryder Cup wild card thanks to a resurgence in form, is three shots off the lead after having to settle for a second round of 71 following a double bogey on the 17th.

While Stenson sits 49th in Europe’s Cup standings with only two weeks of competition remaining before the team is selected, the 45-year-old Swede has been on Europe’s team five times and could still become a valuable asset for this year’s squad.

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