Francesco Molinari wins 2019 Arnold Palmer Invitational

“You must play boldy to win” proclaims a sign attributed to golf legend Arnold Palmer inside the Arnold Palmer Experience at Bay Hill Golf Club and that’s exactly what Francesco Molinari did to win the 2019 Arnold Palmer Invitational.

The reigning British Open champion made eight birdies with no bogeys to shoot 12-under 276 for the week. It was a stunning round that ‘The King’ would surely have approved of and it was more or less a carbon copy of the round put together by Molinari’s Ryder Cup teammate Rory McIlroy to win last year.

Molinari’s 64, the best round in the field on Sunday by two strokes, ended nearly two hours before the leaders.  The Italian went out in 32 before making birdies at Nos. 12 and 13. He almost holed out for an albatross on No. 16 before settling for an easy birdie. Then came the curtain call on No. 18, a 44-foot birdie to go two clear of the field and a putt reminiscent of Tiger Woods glory days on the famous course.

Starting the day one shot clear of the field, Matthew Fitzpatrick, was this years runner up two shots back after a 1-under 71 in the final round and 10 under for the competition. First round leader Rafa Cabrera-Bello tied for third place with Im Sung-jae and Tommy Fleetwood. Honda Classic winner Keith Mitchell shot 66 in the final round to follow his first career victory with a T-6 finish last week, landing him a spot in the 2019 British Open at Royal Portrush.

The win is Molinari’s fourth in the last calendar year as he has enjoyed a fabulous year winning the BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour, the Quicken Loans National on the PGA Tour as well as The Open last summer.

It was also the third PGA Tour win for the 36-year-old who continues to raise his profile and gain recognition outside of his native Italy. He rose to No. 6 in the world after raising the Claret Jug and was 10th to begin the week at Bay Hill.

 

 

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