Published: Wed, March 13, 2019
Sports | By Juana Wells

Molinari wins Arnold Palmer Invitational — Sunday's golf roundup

Molinari wins Arnold Palmer Invitational — Sunday's golf roundup

It was a case of what might have been for Matt Fitzpatrick as he finished second at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Florida.

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Molinari watched the birdie putt kiss off the pin and into the cup.

"Amazing; to be at Arnie's place, it's a tournament that I used to watch on TV when I was back home in Italy and it's a magical place", Molinari, who had to wait nearly two hours before his victory was confirmed, said.

'I'd rank that among the best rounds I've ever played, ' he said. "It was really incredible to see".

"It's phenomenal", Fitzpatrick said of Molinari's round.

"I said this after I won the Open Championship a year ago, I didn't enjoy it - that half an hour - at all and I didn't enjoy today at all watching the other guys", he said. When it's not up to you, it's not a very nice feeling.

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

Molinari started so far back that he finished almost two hours before the round ended.

"It was an unbelievable round from Francesco to shoot what he did", McIlroy said. "For someone like me coming from Italy, he and Jack [Nicklaus] were up there as gods, so to win here is truly special".

In 2018, the Northern Irishman fired a final-round 8-under-par 64 and rallied to a three-stroke victory over Bryson DeChambeau.

"I was just trying to hit good shots, give myself chances, " Molinari said. "The smart thing to do was to take a long break". "So, no, I'm happy with everything".

England's Fitzpatrick came closest to catching Molinari, but rued a missed 12-foot eagle putt at the 16th that would have cut the deficit to one stroke.

"I probably played too safe". "I think sort of protecting my position a little bit".

Molinari, who had taken considerable time off over the last few months to prepare himself for a busy golfing schedule in 2019, produced the best round of the day to win by two over third-round leader Matthew Fitzpatrick while Sungjae Im, Tommy Fleetwood and Rafa Cabrera Bello were another shot back in a share of third. McIlroy and last week's victor Keith Mitchell highlighted a group of four at eight under. But no one got closer than two shots by day's end while Molinari waited patiently in the clubhouse for his cardigan fitting.

Four-time major victor McIlroy and Fitzpatrick will play in the final group, while Baddeley and Englishman Matt Wallace (69) are the penultimate pair, in a share of third with Kevin Kisner (70).

"I've been nose-to-the-grindstone all season, practicing hard and hoping it would be enough", Uriell said. And his Sunday 64 that won him the Arnold Palmer Invitational proves last summer's breakout was no fluke.

And making putts ... and making putts. On Sunday, he had fought his way to six under, and was tied for 15th with two holes to go. The ball was so badly plugged in the bunker that a layer of sand had settled over top.

It was 4:23 p.m. when Molinari made that putt to get to 12-under for the tournament.

McIlroy could only manage two birdies all day and finished in a tie for sixth place on eight under.

Welcome to the official YouTube channel of the PGA TOUR. The world number 14 played out from a fairway bunker to within two feet at the first for a birdie, one of five in his closing 68.

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. He played the four par 5s in 1 under. "I took a longer break after past year".

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