Molinari fires sizzling 64 to win Palmer Invitational

Ross Houston
March 13, 2019

"It's phenomenal", Fitzpatrick said of Molinari's round. Sure, it was always going to be hard to deflect the fire Molinari was spewing, but at what point in a long series of "what are you going to do about that other guy having a career day?" do you start asking, "Why isn't Rory ever that other guy?"

"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", he said. Known for his superb ball striking and solid play, Molinari made a nice living and hoisted the occasional trophy. "I went through the summer, a run of golf I couldn't even believe for me".

These days, Molinari is making history. He became the first European to win all five matches at the Ryder Cup.

Molinari, who collected four birdies on each nine, posted a 72-hole score of 12-under 276 and became the sixth worldwide victor of the API in the last 10 years.

Baddeley squandered a chance to claim his first PGA Tour win since July 2016 and claim one of the automatic exemptions to this year's British Open - which were awarded to the top-three finishers not already exempt.

Francesco Molinari capped off the greatest putting day of his life by adding his name to the list of greats who have made history on Bay Hill's 72nd hole. Coetzee eagled the last for a 68 that made it five top-10finishes at this event, with Bezuidenhout and Campillo also recording four under par rounds.

Sitting in the red cardigan awarded to the victor and $1.638 million richer, Molinari had nothing to prove. "It was nerve wracking, especially coming off, it's a situation I haven't really been in".

Despite almost two hours of golf remaining, neither Fitzpatrick, McIlroy, nor anyone else could mount a charge to threaten Molinari's tournament-best 64. The frustration mounted for the world number 37 when he three-putted the last and finished eight under.

Beginning with this week's Players Championship, Molinari enters the heart of the schedule poised to make more Sunday memories.

"There are few names on the leaderboard, when they're getting close to setting the tee times for the next day, that you are kind of hoping for", Long said.

Palmer no doubt would have been impressed by Molinari's Sunday 64, and he would have been proud of the way Bay Hill played all week. Neither act was a big deal for the reigning Open champion. I get into the events that I'd like to be into again, the schedules change, I'm no longer having to pick and choose. He played bogey-free on the final day at Carnoustie for his first major.

The script was written for Rory McIlroy to make a successful defence of the title he won in such brilliant fashion 12 months ago but McIlroy endured another wretched day when he couldn't hole a putt worth the name.

Sandwiching a 62nd-place finish in the WGC Mexico Championship between missed cuts at Pebble Beach and Bay Hill has left the Offaly man 45th in the world. Then, on No. 18, he rolled in a clutch 44-footer to get into the clubhouse at -12, two clear of the field at that moment.

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