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Molinari in a crushing victory


Italy will surely have been toasting Francesco Molinari to the heavens on Sunday after he shot a magnificent 8-under 62 to run away with Quicken Loans National at TPC Potomac. 

For not only did his 21-under 259 total give the 35-year-old from Turin an eight-shot victory, it also established him as the first Italian in 71 years to win on the US PGA Tour, the last one being the late Toney Penna in the 1947 Atlanta Open. 

Molinari, whose previous best finish in the US as well as in a major was at last year's PGA Championship where he finished second, started his charge at TPC Potomac on Sunday with an eagle at the 10th and kept it going by shooting four more birdies back-to-back. 

"Amazing. I played great today," the normally phlegmatic Molinari enthused afterwards. "The start of the back nine was incredible." 

Molinari's 62, a career low by two shots, matched the par-70 TPC Potomac's 18-hole course record. It was also the lowest final round shot by any US PGA winner this season. 

Molinari, who has been playing a lot of his golf in the US this year, unexpectedly gave the French Open, a high-paying, important Rolex Series event, a miss last week to play in the Quicken Loans because he felt that TPC Potomac better suited his game than Le Golf National. 

"It was not easy to skip the French Open," Molinari said. "But I think I made the right decision." 

American Ryan Armour finished a distant second on 267 after a 68, South Korea's Kang Sung in 3rd place with a 64 and, in what was the second-best finish of his comeback (in his best he shared second place at the Valspar in March) Tiger Woods closed with a 66 to tie for 4th place with Mexico's Abraham Ancer. 

After his stunning 3rd-round 62 for a share of the lead, luckless Ancer stumbled and went backwards on Sunday with a 72. 

Woods, the tournament host and looking to capture his first tour title since the 2013 WGC Bridgestone Invitational, made six birdies but spoiled his round a little with two late bogies. 

"I'm glad I gave myself a chance," he said. "It was nice to make a couple birdies coming in. Evidentally I'd have had to shoot 24 on the back nine. What Francesco did out there was phenomenal." 

The 42-year-old, 14-time major winner said he would not play again until the third major, The Open Championship at Carnoustie later this month, where he hopes to break back into the Top-50 world rankings bubble and earn a place in the WGC Bridgestone Invitational. 

Molinari, who captured his 5th European Tour title in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth earlier this year, is the sixth European golfer to win a US PGA event this year. 

(Par 70 - US player unless stated)

259 Francesco Molinari (ITA) 67 65 65 62
267 Ryan Armour 66 65 68 68
268 Kang Sung (KOR) 72 64 68 64
269 Tiger Woods 70 65 68 66, Abraham Ancer (MEX) 65 70 62 72
270 Bronson Burgoon 68 70 65 67, Beau Hossler 65 66 71 68
271 Ryan Palmer 70 67 67 67, Brian Gay 67 64 72 68, Chesson Hadley 71 64 68 68, Andrew Landry 63 72 65 71
272 Rickie Fowler 70 66 69 67
273 Anirban Lahiri (IND) 67 74 65 67, Stephan Jaeger (GER) 67 73 65 68, Ben Crane 70 68 66 69, Marc Leishman (AUS) 67 67 69 70
274 Billy Horschel 64 68 75 67, Joaquin Niemann (CHI) 68 67 74 65, Charles Howell 70 67 70 67, Dylan Meyer 70 67 70 67, Troy Merritt 68 68 66 72, CT Pan (TPE) 67 67 68 72
275 Ted Potter 72 66 68 69, Stewart Cink 68 69 69 69, Joel Dahmen 66 69 69 71, Ryan Blaum 67 72 64 72. 

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Neville Leck

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