Italys Molinari Victorious in Homeland

By Sports NetworkMay 7, 2006, 4:00 pm
MILAN, Italy -- Francesco Molinari finished off a spectacular week of golf with a 7-under 65 on Sunday to pull away for a four-shot win at the Italian Open.
Molinari's day began with an eagle at the first hole and ended with a birdie and champagne shower on the 18th green, as he became the first Italian in 26 years to win this event.
'It's amazing, really unbelievable,' said Molinari, who finished at 23-under- par 265 after his third straight bogey-free round.
Molinari's first career win comes one year after his older brother, Edoardo, won the U.S. Amateur Championship.
The last Italian to win the Italian Open was Massimo Mannelli in 1980.
'I wouldn't have thought of winning so early,' said the younger Molinari, 23. 'I was hoping to give joy to the Italian golfers, but I wasn't thinking of this year.'
Anders Hansen and Jarmo Sandelin both took runs at Molinari, but neither could do enough. They finished tied for second place at 19-under-par 269 -- Sandelin after a 65 and Hansen following a 66.
Soren Kjeldsen was fourth at minus-18 after a final-round 68, and Benoit Teilleria finished one shot back in fifth place following a 69.
With an enthusiastic crowd in tow, Molinari had another dream round, his fourth straight in the 60s. It began with a chip-in birdie at the par-5 first hole, which he played at 5 under for the tournament.
Molinari added birdies at the sixth and ninth to make the turn at minus-20, but his most critical stretch of golf came on the final seven holes.
Tied for the lead with Sandelin, Molinari missed a golden opportunity to distance himself when he three-putted for par at the 12th.
But Sandelin did the job for him when he missed a 10-foot par putt moments later at the 16th to fall one behind at 19 under. Molinari would be alone in the lead the rest of the way.
'I was quite nervous after I three-putted the 12th,' said Molinari. 'I saw Jarmo Sandelin was 20 under, too, so it was close.'
Molinari then knocked his approach shot at the par-4 13th within 10 feet and rolled in the birdie putt to move two shots clear of the field. At the 15th, he chipped within two feet to set up another birdie, moving to minus-22 for a three-shot advantage.
With his closest competitors failing to make birdies ahead on the course, all Molinari needed to do was play it safe for the win. But he continued to attack.
Holding a three-shot lead, he went at the flag stick on the 18th, even though the pin was tucked on the left side with water just feet away.
Molinari was showered with cheers from the gallery after that bit of showmanship, and a champagne shower followed after he made the putt, as well- wishers stormed the green to celebrate.
'I've never seen a crowd like this,' said Molinari, whose only bogey of the tournament came on a three-putt in the first round. 'It was great, like being in a football (soccer) stadium, more or less.'
Phillip Archer and Bradley Dredge tied for sixth place at 16 under after rounds of 71 and 68, respectively. Italian Alessandro Tadini shot a 68 and shared eighth place at minus-15 with Peter Fowler, Garry Houston and Marc Warren.
Being tied for the third-round lead with Molinari did Benn Barham no good. Playing alongside the crowd favorite, he stumbled to a 3-over 75 and finished tied for 16th place at 13 under.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Telecom Italia Open
  • Full Coverage - Telecom Italia Open
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

    Getty Images

    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

    Getty Images

    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

    Getty Images

    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.