Edoardo Molinari plays it coy in Czech Republic

Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

Edoardo Molinari plays it coy in Czech Republic

Euro Tour

Edoardo Molinari plays it coy in Czech Republic

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Edoardo Molinari thinks he’s found the secret to success. He’s just not telling anyone what it is.

The Italian enters the weekend of a tournament in unfamiliar territory – with the lead. Molinari sits atop the leaderboard in the $1.78 million D+D Real Czech Masters. He takes a two-shot advantage over Belgium’s Thomas Pieters into the final 36 holes after moving to 12 under courtesy of a second successive, bogey-free 6-under 66.

The three-time European Tour winner has changed his routine, notably his pre-shot routine, which includes extending his hand between his eye-line and the target. The 38-year-old is not keen on explaining why he’s doing that.

“The reason for this form is a bit of a secret which I’m going to keep to myself for now, but I’m definitely playing differently on the course,” he said. “I’m giving myself lots of chances. Even today I could have made a few putts more and it’s just the way it is at the minute.

“I’m playing very consistently, the equipment change helped me a lot at the beginning of the year because I’m not losing my driver to the right anymore like I did in the last few years. Thank God I made a switch and it’s definitely going better.”

The 2005 U.S. Amateur champion is one of the more cerebral European Tour players. He turned professional after completing an engineering degree at the University of Torino. He’s putting his degree to good use in his new routine.

“There’s a bit of engineering behind the aiming technique. I’ve been doing it for a few months and it’s definitely paying off.”

Molinari lost his European Tour card in 2015 after a series of injuries. He earned his third European Tour win in the 2017 Trophee Hassan II, had a dip in form last season but has been playing fairly well this year.

“At the moment I’m very comfortable. I’m enjoying playing golf. I’ve been going through a tough few years, so at the minute I’m just really enjoying myself on the golf course. I’m playing well so life is good at the minute.”

Pieters, who won the 2013 NCAA Division I individual title while at the University of Illinois, is trying to get back the form that saw him make his Ryder Cup debut in 2016, when he won four points out of five. However, the 27-year-old wasn’t even close to making last year’s team, and is trying to get back to his 2016 form.

“Mentally I’m trying to stay calm and positive and patient – all of those good things which are still difficult when you have to go out there and implement them,” said Pieters, who’s seeking his first win since the 2016 Made in Denmark. “But my swing feels good. I’m hitting the driver really well, which helps here so I can cut a lot of corners.”

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