Francesco Molinari seeks redemption for meltdown at Masters | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World Sports

Francesco Molinari seeks redemption for meltdown at Masters

Associated Press
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AP
Francesco Molinari will look to bounce back at the PGA Championship after letting a two-shot lead slip away late in the Masters, helping Tiger Woods win his fifth green jacket.

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — For the past month, the golf world has been riding the high of seeing Tiger Woods win the Masters.

What has been forgotten is Woods’ unexpected victory pretty much was courtesy of British Open champion Francesco Molinari.

Forgotten already? Molinari had a two-shot lead with seven holes to play and let it slip away with a pair of double bogeys after finding the water at Augusta National on the 12th and 15th holes.

Instead of the golf world heaping praise on Woods, the 36-year-old Molinari could have added a second major to the resume of one of the hottest players in golf.

“No, I wasn’t satisfied. No, I wasn’t satisfied at all,” Molinari said Wednesday, the day before the start of the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black. “But I mean, immediately after, you, obviously, look at things a bit differently, as well. I was, I would say, happy because I was happy the way I fought on Sunday and the way I played, but, obviously, I was hoping for more at the beginning of the day.”

What made the fifth-place tie at the Masters so disappointing for the Italian: It was the first time he entered the final round of a major with the lead. Then he failed to hold it.

In winning the British Open last year at Carnoustie, he took the lead late in the final round. He didn’t have time to think about playing while in front before he was handed the claret jug. Augusta National was a different story.

“I think the main thing, like I said before, is to get into that situation as often as possible. Then you’re going to win some and lose some like everyone,” Molinari said. “No one is unbeatable. But, hopefully, I can be there many more times and get a bit of luck at the right time, one or two weeks.”

In retrospect, Molinari’s performance at the Masters was exceptional. He played all week using antibiotics to treat a sore throat and an illness he caught from his two children.

“I think it was a big effort to do what I did. And probably on Sunday, when the adrenaline kind of went down, I felt how much I was spending energy-wise during those days,” Molinari said.

After playing for more than 10 years on the European Tour, Molinari saw his career take off last year when he won the BMW PGA Championship, the British Open and the Race to Dubai title. He had five top-10 finishes and earned more than $5 million.

Even more impressive, he went 5-0 in Europe’s Ryder Cup win.

Molinari added the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March for his third PGA Tour victory and had the Masters in his grasp before it slipped away. He has three top-10 finishes in eight events in 2019.

“I hope this is not my peak,” Molinari said. “I think there’s more room for improvement. But I think at the same time — in golf and in sports in general — you need to keep improving even just to stay where you are in the ranks. There’s new players coming through all the time and more talent, so even just to maintain your level, you need to keep improving.”

Categories: Sports | US-World
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