FedExCup over France pays off for Molinari
July 01, 2018
By Ben Everill , PGATOUR.COM
Francesco Molinari wins by eight at Quicken Loans
BETHESDA, Md. – Francesco Molinari remembered the pain of missing last year’s TOUR Championship by a shot when the best he could muster at the BMW Championship was a T12 finish.
It ultimately left him 37th in the FedExCup – a decent season for sure – but not the standard the Italian wanted.
As one of a handful of players who splits his time playing both the PGA TOUR and the European Tour, Molinari vowed to himself he’d do better this year.
He’d make it to Atlanta.
But while a win at the BMW PGA Championship and a runner up a week later in his native Italian Open set him up nicely in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, Molinari found himself languishing in 123rd place in the FedExCup at the beginning of this week.
In his 12 starts on the PGA TOUR his best result was a T16 at the Wells Fargo Championship.
So when faced with a choice of the lucrative Rolex Series French Open – which could further his cause making a third Ryder Cup team - or the Quicken Loans National this week Molinari remembered his FedExCup Playoff pain from last season and chose to fly to Washington D.C.
It proved a masterstroke.
Rounds of 67-65-65 set the 35-year-old up with a share of the 54-hole lead at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm.
Then he put the hammer down on Sunday with a blistering 8-under 62.
Shot of the Day
Francesco Molinari's monster eagle putt for Shot of the Day
Having opened up a three-shot lead at the turn Molinari went eagle, birdie, birdie, birdie, birdie to open the back nine and obliterate the field. He won by eight shots.
“I came here obviously because I was right on the bubble in the FedExCup and I wanted to gain a better position, so I guess job done,” he smiled as he moved to 42nd on the list.
“It was (a big risk), but the risk on the other side was I was 123rd on the FedExCup. When you play two tours, you need to balance the two things.
“It wasn't an easy decision, I thought until the last minute whether to go to France or to come here but seems like it was the right choice in the end.”
While Molinari has five European Tour wins, it was his first PGA TOUR triumph.
Of course one of his wins is the World Golf Championships – HSBC Champions but it came in 2010 before the event was granted PGA TOUR status.
The technicality irked the Italian a little but becoming the first player from his native land to win on U.S. soil since Toney Penna in 1945 was certainly some decent solace.
“When everyone was saying I never won on the PGA TOUR, I felt like saying, well, technically, it was pretty much a PGA TOUR tournament. But it's just a formality, and I think it's different anyway to win on U.S. soil,” Molinari said.
“That was obviously in China and it's more international. It's just a different kind of event. So this win feels special.
“It's amazing to win a tournament hosted by Tiger. He is probably the greatest ever to play the game and I grew up as a teenager watching him on TV dominating golf tournaments.
“It's even more special to win in this style and to get his congratulations on the last green was a very proud moment for me.”
Molinari will stay in the USA and play in a few weeks at the John Deere Classic before heading back to Scotland for The Open Championship at Carnoustie.
Francesco Molinari's news conference after winning Quicken Loans