James Bond-Like Pulkkanen Shoots 64 Leaving Italian Open ‘Shaken But Not Stirred’

Looking very much like James Bond in his distinctive cap, Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen posted a very impressive bogey-free seven under par 64 and seize a one shot lead on day one of the 61st Italian Open in Rome.

Pulkkanen, 29 is currently in 102nd position on the Race to Dubai with only one top ten finish so far this season – eighth place in the Trophée Hassan II – but he posted the lowest opening round of his European Tour career to head a strong leaderboard at Olgiata Golf Club.

The Finn carded five birdies on his front nine after starting on the tenth tee and added two more on the way to sit one shot clear of Slovakia’s Rory Sabbatini, who birdied his final hole for a round of 65.

“My putter was really hot today, and I didn’t make any bogeys, so it was good,” said Pulkkanen.

Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen, in his distinctive James Bond-like hat, posts a bogey-free 64 to take a one shot lead after the opening round of the Italian Open. (Photo – European Tour/Getty)

I made a lot of long putts. I was just actually trying to lag it close, and made a lot of putts by doing that. I felt like the greens were really quick today. Especially in the morning, first group. Monday, Tuesday, was not that quick, so I had to be really careful with the putting.

I think my first year on the European Tour was a learning year. Second year has been more comfortable being here. I haven’t played that well in the Rolex tournaments, so this is kind of new situation, but it’s a long way to go and I feel good about my game.”

World No. 5  ranked Rose, who is chasing his third Rolex Series title, is in a group of five players one shot further back on five under par after posting five birdies in his final eight holes after mixing two birdies and two bogeys on the front nine.

He shares third place with Dutchman Joost Luiten, American Kurt Kitayama, Rolex Series winner Bernd Wiesberger, the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open champion, and India’s Shubhankar Sharma, who birdied the 16th and eagled the 17th in his 66.

Italian Francesco Molinari, the 2018 Open Champion and two-time Italian Open champion, opened with a level par round of 71.

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