Brits Jamie Donaldson and Eddie Pepperell both joined Molinari under the autumnal Italian sunshine on seven under.
Sweden’s Alexander Bjork and Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand make up the leaders.
Discussing the first round, Molinari said: “Obviously it was another good day. I started pretty much where I left off last year, so it was great.
“It’s great to see the crowds. I think there’s a nice buzz around the place and I’m happy and proud to be part of it.”
Aphibarnrat added: “I’m really happy with the way I played in the first round – seven under.
ITALIAN OPEN LEADERBOARD
“This course really suits my game – small greens, quite a narrow golf course and my driver and putter are working so well, so that’s why I made a good start.”
And Donaldson was also delighted with his first round, saying: “I played really good. I didn’t do much wrong really today, that was the secret.
“When I had a chance of holing a putt, I made it. I generally putted a lot better, and tee-to-green was pretty good.”
ITALIAN OPEN TEE TIMES
However, it was not a good day for Italian Nicolo Ravano, who finished dead last with a +6 round of 77.
England’s Danny Willett also endured misery at Monza, shooting +2 alongside Ireland’s Padraig Harrington and Thomas Bjorn of Denmark.
Tommy Fleetwood was the tournament favourite heading into the first day but finished on par after his opening 18 holes.
Source : EXPRESS