Francesco Molinari Produces Brilliant Final Round to Win at Bay Hill

Rex Christensen
March 13, 2019

After a birdie on the par-five 16th hole, Fitzpatrick parred his final two holes to get his best finish on Tour.

The victory came in his first week as a Callaway player having made the switch following the WGC event in Mexico. "There's no way he's knocked it to 6 feet on every hole". "It's great to get it done here at Arnie's place with the wife and kids watching on TV at home".

Karlsson had made birdies from 30 and three feet on the first and seventh and he took advantage of the par five tenth to share the lead, with Elvira also birdieing the tenth to add to a gain after getting up and down from the sand on the first. McIlroy finished at eight under and tied for sixth, amazingly his worst finish of 2019. His putt on No. 18 capped a 12-under weekend where he gained more than four strokes on the field on the greens. In golf, a missed cut from a player owned by almost half the field can really make the difference in tournaments.

The Italian began the day five shots behind fellow Europeans Matthew Fitzpatrick and Rory McIlroy, but the reigning Open champion charged up the leaderboard thanks to a flawless eight-under-par round and set the daunting clubhouse target of 12 under.

"I said this after I won the Open Championship previous year, I didn't enjoy it - that half an hour - at all and I didn't enjoy today at all watching the other guys", he said.

He started so far back that Molinari finished almost two hours before the round ended.

He held on to finish a stroke ahead of compatriot Tommy Fleetwood (68), Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello (69) and South Korean Im Sung-jae (69). It gave him a two-shot lead at 12-under 276, and no one got closer than two shots the rest of the way.

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"I know the clubs are good for me and I started this week - it's insane to do it here, to get it done here, at Arnie's place, knowing that my wife and my kids were watching it back home, it's just a special, special one".

Perhaps it was only fitting that the claret jug was at Bay Hill, which served as part of the Open Qualifying Series.

The victor of last week's Honda Classic, Keith Mitchell, also finished at eight under after a final-round 66. "I'm looking forward to playing in some bigger events and keeping the form going". The course was firm and fast yesterday and I knew it wasn't going to be easy for the guys in the lead, so I thought there was an outside chance.

The 29-year-old has now played in the final pairing nine times in the last 13 months, failing to win any of those tournaments.

Molinari has four victories worldwide in his last 17 starts over the last nine months.

"I've been nose-to-the-grindstone all season, practicing hard and hoping it would be enough", Uriell said. "Yeah, my Sundays haven't been what I would have liked, but I'm putting myself in that position, so good golf is good golf, I keep saying that, at the end of the day". "I think obviously confidence has to do a lot with it".

The popular Italian, who won the Open at Carnoustie last July and then became a folk hero by claiming five points out of five at the Ryder Cup, ended a quiet period in emphatic fashion with a stunning final-round 64 to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

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