Francesco Molinari turned Arnie’s Place into Carnoustie West Sunday and tore up the track at Bay Hill with a final-round 8-under 64 and a victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Molinari, the defending British Open Champion, punctuated his round with a spectacular Tiger Woods-like 43-foot birdie putt for the closeout on No. 18.
“To win here is truly special,” Molinari said.
He entered the clubhouse at 12-under overall and held a two-shot lead over England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick until it was over 90 minutes later.
And all of this was done with The Claret Jug on site in Orlando.
Molinari is from Italy. Seven of the top eight finishers at the API this year were foreigners.
Molinari said he was “just trying to hit good shots.”
That’s exactly what he did.
Molinari began the day T17. He got momentum rolling with a 30-footer for a birdie on No. 1 and nabbed three birdies in his first six holes. He was out in 4-under 32 and moved up to 8-under overall and a tie for second. He nailed an 18-footer to tie it on 13.
He prime shot of the day came in the form of his approach on 16 that set up an eagle opportunity on the par-5 hole. He just missed to settle for birdie. He would finish the round bogey-free.
Molinari shot 69-70-73-64 for the tournament.
Fitzpatrick and Rory McIlroy were in the final pairing and were tied for the lead at 9-under following their first three holes of play. McIlroy finished at 8-under, right where he began the day.
Here is a recap of the final round below: