MILAN, May 31 (Reuters) - English pair Robert Rock and Laurie Canter both hit rounds of eight under par to lead after the first round at the Italian Open at the Gardagolf course on Thursday.
They led by two strokes from a pack of six players including 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett and Ryder Cup duo Ross Fisher and Thomas Pieters.
Rock won the first of his two European Tour titles at the same event in 2011 and he recovered from a bogey on the second with birdies on the fourth and sixth, an eagle on the seventh and a hat-trick of birdies from the ninth.
Local favourite Francesco Molinari, twice Italian Open champion who won the PGA Championship at Wentworth on Sunday, was one of several players a further shot back on five under. (Writing by Brian Homewood; editing by David Stamp and Ed Osmond)