Tiger crushes final round, but Molinari gets victory at Quicken Loans National
Woods shoots 66 on Sunday for lowest final round in 5 years
Francesco Molinari was torn between Paris and Washington until the last minute.
There was no doubting the decision Sunday afternoon, not with his name on a silver trophy in the shape of the U.S. Capitol, the lowest 72-hole score of his career and a stretch of golf that was close to flawless.
"The thought was just to keep pushing, keep making birdies and don't give anyone a chance," Molinari said.
Molinari faced a 15-foot par putt on the ninth hole that he poured into the centre of the cup to keep a three-shot lead. He holed a 50-foot eagle putt on the 10th. He hit a 6-iron to 2 feet for birdie on No. 11, one of the hardest par 4s on the PGA Tour which had yielded only one other birdie all day. Three birdies later, he was nine shots clear and on his way to victory in the Quicken Loans National.
The French Open offered valuable Ryder Cup points on a course where the matches will be played this fall. The Quicken Loans National was on its last leg with one of the weakest fields it has ever had, in the most oppressive heat that the Italian has ever played.
Molinari picked the PGA Tour because he was No. 123 in the FedEx Cup and wanted to improve his position, especially after missing the Tour Championship by what amounted to one shot last year.
"Seems like it was the right choice in the end," he said.
He finished at 21-under 259, breaking the tournament record by seven shots. He won by eight shots over Ryan Armour, matching the largest margin of victory this year on the PGA Tour.
"It was a lot easier than I thought," Molinari said with a wide grin. "I played great. The start of the back nine was incredible."
Woods has best final round in years
Tiger Woods closed with a 66, his lowest final round in more than five years, and he was never close. Woods tied for fourth, his best result since a runner-up finish at the Valspar Championship three months ago, though he was 10 shots behind.
"I was only four back at the time when I made the turn, and so I thought that maybe if I got on the back nine, I shot 30 — maybe 29 — that would be enough," Woods said. "Evidently, I would have to shoot 24 on the back nine. What Francesco is doing back there is just awesome."