Click here (Joel's piece starts around 2:17) to watch a brief clip of Joel on The Golf Channel's Morning Drive on Friday morning.

Turin, Italy - Following an opening around 8-under 64, former Georgia State men's golfer Joel Sjoholm shot 71 on Friday to stand just three strokes off the lead at the BMW Italian Open on the European PGA Tour. The first round leader stands tied for 7th entering Saturday's third round.

Sjoholm opened the tournament on Thursday with an eight-birdie round to hold a one stroke lead. He opened the second round with a pair of bogeys early in the round, but rebounded nicely with three birdies down the stretch to climb back up the leaderboard.

The Panthers first-ever First Team All-American trails Richard Bland by three strokes and four golfers by two strokes.

Entering this week, Sjoholm is 90th on the European Tour's Race to Dubai Money List and 356th in the Official World Golf Rankings. A top 10 finish would all but secure his status on tour once again next season.

In 26 events this year, Sjoholm as won 206,159 Euros, including a pair of eighth place finishes at the BMW International Open and ISPS Handa Wales Open in June. He opened the year with a ninth place finish at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic

Georgia State will open the season next weekend at the Mason Rudolph Invitational hosted by Vanderbilt in Franklin, Tenn.