Molinari lead rival Fleetwood in race to Dubai title fight

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Francesco Molinari won this year's Open Championship and helped Europe win the Ryder CupFirst-round leaderboard-6 Smith (Eng), Otaegui (Spa); -5 Willett (Eng), Rahm (Spa); -4 Molinari (Ita), Li (Chn), Wallace, (Eng), Fisher (Eng), Pieters (Bel) Other selected: -3 Fleetwood (Eng), McIlroy (NI), Reed (USA); -2 Westwood (Eng); -1 Garcia (Spa); E Poulter (Eng)

Italian Francesco Molinari stayed on track to win his first Race to Dubai title after finishing the opening round of the DP World Tour Championship a better shot than rival Tommy Fleetwood.

The 36- One year old only the general crown can be denied if Fleetwood wins the season finale and he ends worse than fifth with another person.

Molinari is two behind leaders Jordan Smith and Adrian Otaegui at four under.

Danny Willett of England stands at five next to Spaniard Jon Rahm.

Molinari retained a share in the lead after 14 holes at Jumeirah Golf Estates, but then three times both the 15th and the 18th place

The Italian's playmate, Fleetwood, said: "It is Only on Thursday, so so many things can happen.We have not done our best, but we have managed to climb well and close two solid rounds.

"I have thought hard for shot and that's what I have to do. I do not think the only advantage is to think about what-ifs. It is too early. "

Fleetwood, whose partnership with Molinari at the Ryder Cup was known as" Moliwood ", added:" You will still have a chance this week with the Race to Dubai – a round down and we still have a chance. As long as our head is above water, we will be happy and continue. "

Four-time winner Rory McIlroy and Masters champion Patrick Reed are part of a 12-way tie on three below on a day when 46 of the field with 60 men will score par or better.

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