Francesco Molinari pulls off dramatic rally to win Arnold Palmer Invitational

Francesco Molinari pulls off dramatic rally to win Arnold Palmer Invitational

"You know, it was the first week as a Callaway player, so happy to see that the switch I made wasn't that insane as some people thought", said the Italian.

English overnight leader Matthew Fitzpatrick shot 71 to claim second place on 10-under.

For Molinari, it meant a two-shot victory at Bay Hill, and his first since claiming the Open Championship in July past year.

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"Coming from Italy, we weren't exposed to that much golf, but obviously Arnie was such a global icon and this tournament was one that we watched, my brother and myself, at home many times".

My Sundays haven't been what I would have liked.

Karlsson had made birdies from 30 and three feet on the first and seventh and he took advantage of the par five tenth to share the lead, with Elvira also birdieing the tenth to add to a gain after getting up and down from the sand on the first. Coughlin closed birdie-eagle, and Granada birdied the final two. "Like you said, I've seen so many putts on TV like that and to do it yourself it's really incredible".

Molinari made almost 150-feet of putts on Sunday, including the 44-footer at the closing hole, an 18-footer at the 13th, and a 21-footer at the first.

The world number six had a fruitless day on the greens, making just one putt outside 10 feet compared to five (and a chip in) from Molinari.

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Defending champion Rory McIlroy, who had moved into contention, could only manage an even-par 72 to end up tied for sixth at eight under. It gave him a two-shot lead at 12-under 276, and no-one got closer than two shots the rest of the way. A week after winning the Honda Classic, Keith Mitchell carded a 66 to finish 8-under and end the tournament as low American on a leaderboard with eight worldwide players among the top-nine finishers.

As for Fleetwood, he showed impressive powers of recovery with a 68 after a third-round 76 on Saturday, to finish tied third. "I'm looking forward to seeing what happens going forward and playing in some bigger events".

Speaking after the win, Molinari said: "I tried to be aggressive from the start and it was nice to see quite a lot of putts dropping. especially for my standards". The course was firm and fast yesterday and I knew it wasn't going to be easy for the guys in the lead, so I thought there was an outside chance.

Molinari won his first PGA Tour event during last July's Quicken Loans Championship, followed three weeks later by his win at the Open Championship, where he held off McIlroy and Tiger Woods.

Molinari pointed to the first of his last four victories for sparking his turnaround.

"It's a pretty iconic putt, " Molinari said.

"I think it's been the best putting round ever in my career". "He's obviously holed a lot of putts to do that because you can't get close to these pins".

In October, Molinari became the first European to go 5-0 in the Ryder Cup during his team's rout of the Americans in Paris.

"Finding motivation was easy after past year", Molinari said.

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