POTOMAC: Francesco Molinari became the first Italian in 71 years to win a US PGA event, firing an eight-under-par 62 on Sunday (Jul 1) to capture the Quicken Loans National while Tiger Woods settled for sharing fourth.
Molinari, a runner-up at last year’s PGA Championship for his best major showing, eagled the 10th hole and followed with four consecutive birdies on his way to finishing 72 holes on 21-under 259 at TPC Potomac.
“Amazing. I played great today,” Molinari said. “The start of the back nine was incredible.”
The 35-year-old from Turin became the first Italian to win a US PGA event since the late Toney Penna took the 1947 Atlanta Open.
Molinari matched the 18-hole course record with the lowest final round by a US PGA winner this season, his career low on the American tour by two shots.
The European Ryder Cup veteran skipped this week’s event at Le Golf National, where this year’s Cup will be played in September, for a 121st US PGA start on a course he said suited his game perfectly.
“It was not easy to skip the French Open,” Molinari said. “But I think I made the right decision.”
American Ryan Armour was second on 267, one stroke ahead of South Korea’s Kang Sung with Woods next on 269, one ahead of Americans Bronson Burgoon and Beau Hossler.
Ancer, Kang, Armour and Burgoon claimed fourth British Open berths on offer to top finishers. The year’s third major showdown starts July 19 at Carnoustie.
Tournament host Woods, chasing his first victory since 2013, fired a 66 to finish 10 shots back, sinking six birdies but foiled by two back-nine bogeys and missed opportunities.
“I’m glad I gave myself a chance,” Woods said. “It was nice to make a couple birdies coming in. Evidently I’d have had to shoot 24 on the back nine. What Francesco is doing out there is phenomenal.”
Woods, playing his 11th US PGA event in a comeback from spinal fusion surgery, has not won a title since the 2013 WGC Bridgestone…
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