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Molinari Brothers Make Early Noise

June 17, 2021 - 8:59 PM
Francesco Molinari bested his older brother, Edoardo, by two strokes in Round 1 on Thursday at Torrey Pines. (Jeff Haynes/USGA)

Edoardo and Francesco Molinari are playing in their third U.S. Open together and both took full advantage on Thursday at Torrey Pines. The brothers from Italy combined for 11 birdies and recorded two of the 12 under-par rounds in the morning wave.

Playing in the first group off No. 1, older brother Edoardo, 40, opened with a birdie, played his next five holes 4 over par, then rallied with five birdies between Nos. 8-14 to card a 1-under 70. Francesco, 38, took just 24 putts and birdied two of his final three holes to shoot a 3-under 68.

The solid play comes as a bit of a surprise given the Molinaris’ recent history. It is the first time Edoardo, the 2005 U.S. Amateur champion, has shot a round of par or better in a major since the first round of the 2014 PGA Championship. Francesco reached as high as No. 5 in the Official World Golf Ranking after his victory in the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie – the first major victory by an Italian – but his ranking has fallen to No. 173 ahead of the U.S. Open, no doubt affected by a back injury and family relocation from London to Los Angeles.

How rare is it for brothers to play well in the same U.S. Open? Here’s some historical context. The last time two brothers made a cut was in 1993, when Joe (T-25) and Jumbo (T-33) Ozaki of Japan did it at Baltusrol.