Friday 24 March 2017

Molinari thrilled to force Monty's Ryder Cup hand

Bernie McGuire at Gleneagles

After brilliantly capturing the Johnnie Walker Championship, Italy's Edoardo Molinari presented captain Colin Montgomerie with no other option but to select him in his European Ryder Cup team.

Molinari birdied his closing three holes on the Centenary course to win by a stroke with a final-round 72 for a 10-under-par victory tally.

The 29-year-old Turin-born player, who has now won twice in Scotland this year, denied Australia's former Irish Open winner, Brett Rumford, who birdied his last two holes in a score of 70 to finish on nine-under-par.

Three players -- Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez (72), Francesco Molinari (75) and Welshman Jamie Donaldson (69) -- were tied in third place at seven under par.

Molinari's win saw him move to ninth on the Ryder Cup points table, one place and €57,124 outside of automatically qualifying for Celtic Manor.

But after declaring on Saturday night that there "would something wrong if I won and didn't get picked," Molinari threw the gauntlet right at Monty's feet.

"After the 13th hole I started to think about the Ryder Cup a lot more, saying to myself that I have to win this to hopefully get a pick," he said. "So I don't know what else I have to do to show Monty I am good enough to play in the Ryder Cup."

favour

Jimenez did Monty a big favour in securing his place in a fourth Ryder Cup but only after the 46-year-old Spaniard was left ruing a duffed chip from the rough at the side of the downhill par-three 17th.

And despite birdies either side of the penultimate hole, the double bogey put paid to Jimenez sealing a third Race to Dubai success this season.

"It's just very disappointing as it looked like I could have won but playing the wrong club at 17 was one stupid thing that has cost me," said Jimenez. "It's nice to make the Ryder Cup side but it would have been nicer if I had of won the tournament."

Damien McGrane carded a 74 to finish at five under par and the best of the three remaining Irish.

Paul McGinley, who heads to the Swiss Alps this week, was able to look on the bright side after letting slip his fine early rounds to finish level par. After moving to within three strokes of the lead on Friday night, McGinley then posted weekend scores of 74 and 76.

McGinley's last-day effort included a second-hole double-bogey when he found a fairway bunker but then put his second shot into a water hazard guarding the green at the par five.

The Dubliner's fourth shot found a back bunker, from where he splashed out and two-putted. However, McGinley had to wait until the 16th and 17th holes before his only birdies of the round.

"I didn't play all that badly and it was that I just missed a few fairways and that was the difference over the weekend," he said. "But the whole week is a good basis for the rest of the season and, yes, it got away from me over the weekend and not because I played that badly. So I am taking a lot of positives to Switzerland."

McGinley ended his final round at about 3.0 yesterday afternoon and after a late lunch went off to take a shower and get changed into his Ryder Cup attire ahead of Montgomerie's announcement of Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald and Molinari as his three wildcard picks for Celtic Manor.

McGinley today hosts a corporate outing at the Queenwood Club in Surrey.

Irish Independent

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