Henrik Stenson's fine recent form continued on the opening day of the Italian Open as he fired a flawless 64 to sit in a three way tie at the top of a star studded leaderboard.
The 45-year-old Swede had strengthened his case for a Ryder Cup wildcard by following up his share of fourth spot in the Czech Masters with a third place finish at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club last week.
And the 2016 Open Championship winner impressed once again on Thursday, notching seven birdies and no bogeys at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club to join fellow early starters Kalle Samooja and Min Woo Lee on seven under par.
As calm morning conditions were replaced by the wind in the afternoon, none of the later starters were able to match the co-leaders' 18 hole total.
It was local favourite Edoardo Molinari who came closest to doing so, joining the group on six under with a 65 that contained a brilliant hole-in-one at the short seventh.
That saw the Italian walk away with a brand new car, and he would finish the day alongside morning starters Eddie Pepperell and Scott Hend in a tie for fourth, one shot behind the leaders.
64 - Kalle Samooja (FIN), Min Woo Lee (AUS), Henrik Stenson (SWE)
65 - Edoardo Molinari (ITA), Eddie Pepperell, Scott Hend (AUS)
66 - Tommy Fleetwood, Adri Arnaus (ESP), Francesco Laporta (ITA), Nicolai Hojgaard (DEN)
67 - Johannes Veerman (USA), Steven Brown, Adrien Saddier (FRA), Benjamin Hebert (FRA), Masahiro Kawamura (JPN), Ross Fisher