Weekend winners: Molinari holds off Willett, Chun makes history
European Tour: Italian Open – Francesco Molinari
A first win for Molinari since 2012 and he did it in some style in front of a particularly partisan crowd. He was pushed all the way by Masters champion Danny Willett, on the 13th tee he was four clear but he had to hole a five-footer at the last to claim his second national title.
Molinari started with an eagle, thanks to a curling 20-footer, followed it with a birdie and reached the turn in 31. He came home in a one-under 34 but Willett birdied 13, eagled the next and they came to the last with Molinari one ahead.
The Italian hit a brilliant chasing recovery to the front of the green, Willett knocked in a 15-footer which left Molinari facing a nervy one – which he made for a six-under 65.
Chris Paisley finished tied for third at 18 under with Nacho Elvira of Spain and the Englishman has now done enough to retain his card.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) September 18, 2016
What Molinari said: “It’s been a rollercoaster. It’s amazing to see this amount of people out here supporting me. I had the ideal start, I couldn’t start any better. When I birdied 12 I got four shots [clear] and thought maybe I could relax a bit and I got punished straight away.
“Coming in I had nothing left, I was just playing with my soul. I was hitting horrible shots, but somehow I managed to bring it in.”
What Willett said: “I’m sure it’s going to be 100 times worse when we get to the Ryder Cup in America, but it’s been a little bit of a taster. It’s been good to play under that pressure and be under the gun and be in contention. If you finish a golf tournament 21 under par and you lose, I don’t think you can be too disheartened about it.”
LPGA Tour: Evian Championship – In Gee Chun
The World No 7 Chun recorded the lowest winning total, male or female, in Major history, eclipsing Henrik Stenson and Jason Day, as she also became just the second player in the LPGA Tour’s history to make her first two victories Majors. Her compatriot Se Ri Pak was the first.
The Korean won last year’s US Women’s Open, she also tied second at this year’s ANA Inspiration, and she won this by four from compatriots So-yeon Ryu and Sung-hyun Park.
The 22-year-old began and ended the final round four shots clear and she was six clear with five to play and she could afford to slightly relax over the closing stretch.
Defending champion Lydia Ko clinched the Rolex Annika Major award, which recognises the player with the best performance in the Majors. Ariya Jutanugarn needed to finish in a share of fifth or better in order to win the award but came up just short at a tie for 9th. Ko finished down in a tie for 43rd while Charley Hull was 52nd.
What Chun said: “I know 19-under par is tied record (for the women) before the final round. It was more pressure for me, but I tried to think about it as a really good experience. I tried to more enjoy it. Without nerves, I feel bored. Nothing, bored. I had a lot of pressure on the course, but I much enjoyed my game. I tried my best to keep to my game plan possibly, I think so I might win this time.”