CARNOUSTIE- Francesco Molinari is riding on a wave of momentum heading into this week’s Open Championship at Carnoustie. With the Ryder Cup happening on European soil this year, the Italian has put his game into full gear, showcasing his entire arsenal of strengths on the golf course in order to punch a ticket to the event happening in September.
For a European golfer, the Open Championship is the premier tournament on the golf calendar. Like the Green Jacket for American golfers, the Claret Jug is the coveted trophy that those players from Europe seek, attempting to cement their place in golf history and hold the title of “Champion Golfer of the Year.” For Molinari, adding a major championship to his resume would elevate his legacy not only in the folklore of golf but also becoming a golf hero in his home country of Italy.
Francesco Molinari’s Heightened Three Month Performances
On the European Tour, Molinari has always been a perennial contender, having won five times overseas. The Italian’s great season began in May, when he won the BMW PGA Championship, beating Rory McIlroy by two strokes.
On the PGA Tour, Francesco’s success has been limited, adding himself to the lengthy list of golfers who are close but have never won a professional tournament in America. In 12 career starts on the PGA Tour, his best finish was a T16 at the Wells Fargo Championship. But that all changed when he decided to play the Quicken Loans National, in order to improve his ranking in the FedEx Cup standings.
“I came here obviously because I was right on the bubble in the FedEx and I wanted to gain a better position,” said Molinari.
The decision to play in Washington paid off for the Italian golfer. Molinari shot four dominant rounds to win the tournament by eight strokes, which include shooting a 62 in the final round. He followed up his great performance at the Quicken Loans with a runner-up finish at the John Deere Classic, combining to shoot 40-under par in the last two tournaments he has played. Since missing the cut at the Players Championship, Molinari has produced two tournament victories and two second-place results in five tournaments, putting himself in the mix to hoist the Claret Jug.
“I couldn’t dream of doing much better than this,” the Italian said. “I’m in a much stronger position now heading into the summer and then the playoffs, so I need to keep going.”
Carnoustie Perfect Challenge for Molinari
When the Open Championship’s rotation arrives at Carnoustie, golfers know they will be in for a tough test. With a course that has only two par-5s and a plethora of challenges including the Barry Burn on the 18th hole, golfers like Molinari will have to be playing at not only their best but also be patient if they want to come out victorious.
“I’m aware as well that it’s going to be a challenge for everyone. It’s a tough course. Obviously all the best players in the world are going to be there,” Molinari said. “I don’t need to get ahead of myself. Still going to be about the process and about hitting good shots and just see where that takes me.”
No one in the world is playing better than Molinari is right now. He will have to require on another strong tee-to-green performance at Carnoustie as well as his putting if he is going to emerge as the Open champion. As the Italian states, playing the week before and generating success only adds to his confidence going into the major championship.
“Last year I didn’t play before The Open; I went to Birkdale to study the course, and it didn’t work out,” said Molinari, who missed the cut at last year’s Open Championship. “I had to play an event I hadn’t played in the previous four years, and thought it would be good to keep it going right until The Open.”
Heading to Scotland, Molinari will be accompanied by his family and friends, as he pursues to add a major championship to his trophy repertoire. In the backdrop of scenic Scotland and the tranquil sound of ocean waves, Molinari feels right at home, ready to take on a challenge to elevate his golfing legacy.