Europe Luke DonaldMeanwhile, he made a rookies error by hitting into the thick dirt at Marco Simone club outside Rome. He then hit the wrong ball and was given a two stroke penalty.
McIlroy (66), who produced an eagle on the second day, and Fitzpatrick (69) had five straight birdies in Fridays second round. They stood one and two respectively near the middle of the Italian Open. The round was suspended due to darkness for the 2nd straight day.
McIlroy was playing in Italy for the first-time as a professional to get familiarized with the Ryder Cup courses. Fitzpatrick was one stroke behind.
McIlroy had an opening 67, but play was stopped on Thursday. Fitzpatrick finished strong early Friday to take the lead with a 65.
McIlroy was the one who surged ahead on the par-5 12th. He celebrated with an insignificant wave, which was quite different from his arms-abovethe-head reaction on the par-4 3rd.
Fitzpatrick won his first major title at The Country Club, Brookline, Massachusetts in June. He also tied for fifth at the PGA Championship this year. Fitzpatrick, 28, is a veteran of European Tour. This is his seventh appearance at the Italian Open. He was second in 2019.
Fitzpatrick declared, I love Italy, and added that hes a big soccer fan. I came in December just to see Roma.
Donald struggled to a triple-bogey on Donalds driveable par-4 16th hole when he hit his putt into the rough and then misjudged the ball.
Donald tweeted A first for myself. Poor drive deep rough, spotter goes straight for ball, then I realize Ive mishandled the ball. Same red Titleist 4, but not my markings on it.
Donald recovered however by making birdies at five of the eight remaining holes to remain in contention at 5 under.
Donald said that the rough would be pretty difficult for the 2023 Ryder Cup. Marco Simone will host the event in the third venue in Europe after Valderrama in Spain (1997), and Le Golf National (2018).
Donald stated that we want to put a premium upon hitting the fairways. The rough here is a different type. It has a thick blade so it doesn’t need to be too heavy to make the job difficult. … We want to play in similar conditions as what we played this year.
Champion in defense Nicolai Hojgaard(70) was also in contention at 5 Under, with 10th-ranked Viktor Hovland(68) A stroke further back. Tom LewisFinished third at 7 under Victor PerezFourth place was achieved with 6 under
Local player Filippo CelliAfter a stellar amateur career, he impressed in his pro debut. He scored an eagle with No. 12 to finish at 1 over and make the cut.
Julien QuesneOn the 187-yard fourth, he made a hole in one.