Last year, Francesco Molinari shot a 65 in the final round to finish off a spectacular week of golf and pull away for a four-shot victory, becoming the first Italian in 26 years to win the Italia Open.
His final round began with a chip-in eagle on the first hole and ended with a birdie and champagne shower at the 18th green, a dream ending for the younger brother of 2005 U.S. Amateur champion Edoardo Molinari.
'It was fantastic last year because I don't think the crowd really expected an Italian golfer to win,' the younger Molinari told the European Tour. 'Because of that, they went crazy over the last few holes -- it was more like a football match.'
With many of the world's top players competing in the Wachovia Championship, Molinari's quest for a title defense will be made easier -- although no player has successfully defended in the last 60 years.
GOLF CHANNEL will have live coverage of all four rounds, beginning at 9:30 a.m. (et) on Thursday and Friday and at 8 a.m. on the weekend days.
Next week is the Andalucian Open, where Niclas Fasth birdied the fourth sudden-death playoff hole last year to make up for a late-round collapse and beat John Bickerton.