Sports

Edoardo Molinari in 4-way tie for lead in Johannesburg with British Open places available

  • Edoardo Molinari of Italy follows his ball on the 2nd hole during the second round of the Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

    Edoardo Molinari of Italy follows his ball on the 2nd hole during the second round of the Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)  (The Associated Press)

  • Edoardo Molinari of Italy follows his ball on the first hole during the second round of the Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

    Edoardo Molinari of Italy follows his ball on the first hole during the second round of the Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)  (The Associated Press)

Edoardo Molinari was part of a four-way tie for the first-round lead at the European Tour's Joburg Open with his 7-under 64 on Thursday.

The Italian was joined by Scottish pair Alastair Forsyth and Craig Lee and South African Justin Walters.

Molinari, a 2010 Ryder Cup player, opened with three straight birdies at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington and collected eight in all on the par-71 West Course. Lee had the most impressive round with his 7-under 65 on the tougher par-72 East Course.

Players play one round on each of the East and West courses on Thursday and Friday before finishing on the East over the weekend.

The tournament is also a qualifying event for the British Open and offers three places at July's championship at Royal Liverpool.