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BMW Italian Open: Rock savours sweet taste of victory

By Bernie Maguire

Robert Rock finally buried his Baltray demons to win the BMW Italian Open in front of a Turin crowd he described as a lot less ‘awkward and uncomfortable' than he faced in the 2009 Irish Open.

The 34-year-old Englishman led from start to finish and capped his final-day 67 with six birdies in a seven-hole stretch mid-round to win by a stroke with a 21-under-par tally.

Rock is contesting his tenth year on the European Tour and his victory comes in his 209th Tour start.

However, just over two years ago, he and Shane Lowry went into the final round of the Irish Open tied at 16-under par and 18 holes later there was no separating them.

However, an overwhelming patriotic home crowd helped deliver Lowry victory after a play-off on the rain-drenched Co Louth links.

There was similar huge support here in Turin for the Italian pair of Francesco Molinari and Matteo Manassero, with Molinari looking to win the event for a second occasion on the Royal Park course where he grew up. However, the Italian pair, who were rushing to catch a private jet bound for this week's US Open, finished in a share of eighth at 16-under.

“It was a completely different pressure for me out there today even with Francesco and Matteo in with a chance for victory,” said Rock.

“But there was a lot of support for me all the way around the course and I really, really appreciated that as it does make a lot easier. The last time at the Irish Open was awkward and a bit uncomfortable at times but here it was alright.”

Sweden's Thornbjorn Olesen claimed a share of second place with a 62 that included an outward nine of 29. Darren Clarke carded a final round 68 to share 46th place at eight under par.

Damien McGrane, meanwhile, partakes in a two-day pro-am starting today at Slieve Russell after a last round 70 for a share of 52nd place at seven under par.

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