'Best putting round ever' lifts Molinari to Bay Hill victory

Tanya Simon
March 13, 2019

Check in for highlights from every tournament plus player interviews, player profiles, tournament previews, swing analysis and all the greatest shots and fantastic moments. He rallied from two back to win at Bay Hill a year ago.

He all but sealed the win with a 44-foot birdie putt across the green at the last and although many of his nearest challengers still had several holes to play they faced a tough task to catch the leader and so it would prove.

"I was just trying to hit good shots, give myself chances, " Molinari said.

"I find it a lot more nerve-wracking sitting there than being out there playing", Molinari said. I didn't enjoy it but it's good fun, I'm glad it happened and now we move on.

"It's great, to do it here, to get it done here at this place knowing that my wife and the kids were watching back home, it's just a special, special one". In golf, a missed cut from a player owned by almost half the field can really make the difference in tournaments.

"I don't know if I could have done a lot more than that to be honest". "I mean, I go about doing my own stuff and minding my own business, it's not really bothering me, wherever they put me in the tee times, as long as it ends up like this".

After holing the putt, he went to the locker room and watched on TV to see if his 12-under score would hold up.

McIlroy, in yet another in a series of disappointing final rounds in which he's come up short while in contention, shot even par Sunday and finished at 8-under, along with Mitchell, last week's Honda Classic victor, Wallace and Kang.

The 24-year-old from Sheffield, who did not drop a shot in round three, made his first bogey of the final day at the 15th to fall three adrift with three to play.

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Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick took the 54-hole lead with a 67 and at nine under he leads defending champion Rory McIlroy (66) by one shot. He regained the lead with a birdie on No. 4, un aware of all the action on the other side of the course.

All that mattered was that it dropped, capping off a five-shot rally with a final round no one imagined on a fast Bay Hill course with putting surfaces that looked closer to white than green, making it hard for anyone to get it close to the hole. It turned out to be too much for anyone to catch him.

The victory is a fifth in nine months and four different countries worldwide for 33-year-old Harding, who recorded successive Sunshine Tour wins in May and repeated the feat on the Asian Tour in July.

Meeting with the media and donned in an Arnold Palmer red alpaca cardigan, Molinari toasted Palmer with one of the legend's favourite drinks, Ketel One vodka, on the rocks, with a twist of lemon. It gave him a two-shot lead at 12-under 276, and no one got closer than two shots the rest of the way. "I started building my confidence and seeing I could get it done".

"Finding motivation was easy after past year", Molinari said.

Molinari closed with a 62 to blow away the field in the Quicken Loans National.

The final day began with a clear indication that Tiger is ready to return at the Players Championship this week despite his neck injury. He became the first European to win all five matches at the Ryder Cup.

But having said in the build-up that he'll happily accept his new-found seam of consistency if he eventually gets back to winning five times per year, McIlroy was not for changing his tune after his round.

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