POTOMAC — Although tournament host Tiger Woods was the center of attention throughout the week, Italy’s Francesco Molinari grabbed the spotlight on the final day of the Quicken Loans National.
Molinari earned his first official PGA Tour victory on Sunday and became the first Italian to win on the PGA Tour since 1947.
Molinari’s victory at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm helped him earn a handsome share of the $7,100,000 purse.
“I’ve always said that the next stage of my career would have been to win over here, and to do it in this fashion, it’s even better,” said Molinari, who pocketed a $1,278,000 paycheck. “I’m very proud the way I played today, probably some of the best golf I’ve ever played and I’ll ever play in the future. I think it’s hard to play better than this.”
The 35-year-old won by eight strokes and became the ninth first-time PGA Tour winner this season. He also set new tournament records for 72 holes, 54 holes and largest margin of victory.
What’s more, Molinari finished tied with Woods for most birdies during the tournament (21) and improved to No. 42 on the FedExCup standings, up 81 spots from No. 123.
“I came here obviously because I was right on the bubble in the FedExCup and I wanted to gain a better position, so I guess job done,” said Molinari. “Last year I missed the Tour Championship I think by a single shot in Chicago and it wasn’t nice. I’m in a better position now to try and get there this year and I think that’s just going to be my goal going forward, yeah.”
Ryan Armour, who shot a 13-under par 267, finished as the tournament runner-up and Sung Kang finished in third place.
Armour, who earned his second-best result on the PGA Tour, was seeking to become the tour’s seventh multiple winner this season.
“I wish I would have gave myself a few more opportunities to make some birdies, to maybe even sniff Francesco, but I don’t think anyone was catching him,” said Armour. “He deserves it, he played great. Just – I played with him in Houston and he’s such a good ball-striker, and to get a W, I think is a big monkey off his back.”
Meanwhile, Woods, who captured the Quicken Loans National in 2009 and 2012, finished the tournament in a fourth-place tie with Abraham Ancer.
The 42-year-old Woods, a winner of 14 major championships throughout his career, was seeking his first win on the PGA Tour in five years but came up short.
“I’ve been on the Tour for the better part of 22 years now, so I’ve been out here a while,” said Woods. “That’s one of the neat things about our sport; it can cross so many different generations. I remember playing with Jack [Nicklaus] in his final PGA and he said he played with Gene Sarazen in his final PGA. You don’t get to hear that in any other sport. We cross so many different generations and this is one of them.”
Quicken Loans announced earlier this year that they will sponsor a new event in Detroit in 2019 but that event likely won’t be associated with Tiger Woods which could spell the end of the golf tournament in the nation’s capital.
“It is in question,” explained Woods. “As I was saying earlier in the week, it’s frustrating because this is a great sporting town. This D.C. area, they support all their sports and have supported this event. Unfortunately, we just haven’t been able to find a title. We need a title sponsor in order to continue this event.”
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