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Francesco Molinari of Italy, poses with the championship trophy after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament in Orlando, Florida. (ANSA/AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) [CopyrightNotice: Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved]
Francesco Molinari clinched a two-stroke victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational when he stormed home with a closing eight-under-par 64 in Florida last Sunday. The British Open champion enjoyed his “best putting day ever” which he capped off by sinking a 45-foot birdie at the difficult par-four 18th at Bay Hill in Orlando.
The usually low-key Italian raised his arm in the air following his final putt, the longest he has holed on the PGA Tour this year. Molinari posted a 12-under par 276 total and after a two-hour wait in the clubhouse, celebrated his third PGA Tour victory when none of the overnight frontrunners could match his total.
“I thought there was an outside chance and just started making putts,” 36-year-old Molinari said afterwards. “Probably have to say my best putting round ever. I don’t know if I could have done a lot more than that, to be honest.”
He began the final round five strokes from the lead. Asked what had elevated his game over the past year, he said confidence had a lot to do with it.
“In the summer I went through a run of golf that was hard to believe…The winter came and it was time to find some motivation, which wasn’t extremely easy after last year. The smart thing to do was to take a long break.”
Molinari’s round tallied eight birdies, including a 15-yard pitch-in at the eighth and his 64 was the lowest round all week at the tournament. “It’s high up there with the best wins I’ve had,” said Molinari. He added that while growing up in Italy, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus were up there as gods of the sport.