The 2013 Italian Open has taken a pleasing turn for the home gallery through 36 holes, as native player Francesco Molinari put together a solid round of 66 to get to nine under par overall.
Molinari shares the lead with Simon Thornton and Felipe Aguilar at Golf Club Torino in Turin, but there are other big stars giving chase heading into Round 3's moving day—not least among them Nicolas Colsaerts and Italian prodigy Matteo Manassero.
Here is a look at the schedule and where to obtain a complete list of tee times, followed by predictions for what the tournament outlook will be for prominent players after three rounds.
Note: Statistics and information are courtesy of EuropeanTour.com, unless otherwise indicated.
When: Saturday, Sept. 21
Where: Golf Club Torino in Turin, Italy
TV: Golf Channel
Tee Times: First group is off at 7:40 a.m. GMT (3:40 a.m. EDT). For a complete list of tee times for the first two rounds, visit EuropeanTour.com.
Manassero Makes a Charge
Who will make the biggest push on Saturday?
The 20-year-old is one of the brightest stars in the game, but unlike other young guns such as Rory McIlroy, what has gotten Manassero there is not power but an emphasis on precision.
Manassero doesn't hit the ball far at all, instead relying on a tidy short game and accuracy off the tee to keep him among the world's elite.
That hasn't really been the case this week, as Manassero has hit just 12 of 28 fairways in regulation. Nevertheless, he's still scoring reasonably well with matching rounds of 70, putting him just five strokes back.
It's a margin that isn't insurmountable by any stretch. Although he entered this tournament in relatively poor form, it looks as though Manassero has been revitalized in his home country in grinding out difficult rounds where his game from tee to green hasn't been spot-on.
Look for Manassero to sharpen up in the third round and continue putting it well in moving at least three shots closer to the lead.
Final Group Fades
Thornton is a relatively unproven commodity, and this is a golden opportunity for him to vault up the Race to Dubai standings, where he's currently No. 135.
Other than this June's win at the Najeti Hotels et Golfs Open, which is the smallest purse on the European Tour, he hasn't demonstrated a consistent ability to be in the hunt. The pressure is thus more likely to get to him.
It's been a respectable 2013 season for Aguilar, who fired a bogey-free 66 in Round 2, but an injury that forced him out of British Open qualifying has set him back:
For those who were following Felipe Aguilar at IFQ, he retired on the 9th due to injury.— The Open (@The_Open) June 24, 2013
This is the first time Aguilar has been in the hunt early July at the Alstom de France Open, so there's no guarantee he will physically hold up.
The best for last is of course Molinari, who is clearly the best candidate to hold strong since he's a multiple winner on this tour. Putting has been Molinari's longtime shortcoming, though, and he doesn't have the power or other parts of his game to consistently compensate for that.
Molinari will still be a factor, but he will likely start off the final round a shot or two off the pace.
Colsaerts Seizes 54-Hole Lead
The Belgian Bomber is a prime candidate to take control of the tournament, with Molinari as his only seemingly formidable challenger.
Unlike his recent Ryder Cup teammate, Colsaerts hits the ball a mile and can routinely fire at flags with shorter clubs in his hands. That is an innate advantage so critical in avoiding having to get up and down from off the green so frequently.
Colsaerts has gotten out of a recent slump despite a one-under 71 on Friday, where he hit just 13 of 18 greens in regulation after missing just one in the opening round.
A closing stretch of two bogeys in three holes dropped Colsaerts out of the lead he held on his own at minus-10 at one time:
Frustrating finish for Nicolas Colsaerts in Italy. Two bogeys in his final three holes takes him out of the lead. #EuropeanTour— Kieran Clark (@OnParWithGolf) September 20, 2013
This is definitely not the birdie-fest the Italian Open has been in the past, but Colsaerts has all the tools to thrive as long as he can sink a few putts. It should be enough to boost Colsaerts to the top of the leaderboard to stay after 54 holes.