Edoardo Molinari spoiled Paul Dunne’s Moroccan party by saving his best golf for Royal Dar Es Salem’s two closing holes to win the $2.65 million Trophee Hassan II.
Dunne looked to be on course for his first European Tour win after entering the final round with a two-shot lead. However, Molinari went on a rampage over the closing nine holes. The 36-year-old Italian played the inward half in 5-under 32 thanks to eagles at the 12th and 18th holes to get 9 under.
He came from four shots off the lead with a closing 5-under 68 to force a playoff. Dunne managed a birdie the last for a 1-under 72 to get into the playoff.
Molinari made a regulation par on the first playoff hole, the par-5 18th, after Dunne missed a six-foot par putt.
The 2005 U.S. Amateur champion picked up a check for $442,000 for winning his third European Tour event, but first since 2010. He moves to 14th on the European order of merit as a result.
The Italian has had some tough times in the last few seasons after winning twice in 2010 and making his Ryder Cup debut. He’s made two trips to the European Tour Qualifying School in the last two years to keep his playing rights, but earns an exemption until the end of 2019 as a result of this victory.
“It’s fantastic,” Molinari said. “I’ve been through some very hard times with injuries and bad form.
“To be able to win this week deletes a lot of bad memories and hopefully I can keep going down this road.
“It just shows that you should never give up, you should always keep trying, keep working hard.
“I’ve probably been the player who has spent the most time on the driving range over the last three years. This is a great reward for so much hard work.”
Dunne’s consolation is a check for $295,000 and the guarantee of full European Tour playing rights for next season. He moves to 20th on the European money list.
“I felt like there were just so many shots that slipped away from me,” Dunne said. “It’s just one of those days.
“I felt like I was really close to shooting four or five under and stuck with one under in the end.
“I’m happy with my form and looking forward to next week. I’m just a bit disappointed not to come out with the result we wanted, but it’s a step in the right direction.”
England’s Paul Waring took third place at 8 under.