Friday, 20 July, 2018

Tiger six shots off co-leaders at Quicken Loans National

Francesco Molinari wins in a record runaway at Quicken Loans National Tiger equals best comeback score, hunts National title
Betsy Taylor | 03 July, 2018, 01:52

Speaking of fans, there are quite a lot of them following Tiger Woods this weekend over on TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm.

Sweet-swinging Francesco Molinari "executed the plan perfectly" to clinch a first PGA Tour title in style by taking control on the back nine as he stormed to an emphatic eight-shot victory at the Quicken Loans National in Maryland on Sunday.

American Ryan Armour was second on 267, one stroke ahead of South Korea's Kang Sung with Woods next on 269, one ahead of Americans Bronson Burgoon and Beau Hossler.

Tiger Woods tied for fourth at 11 under with third-round co-leader Abraham Ancer of Mexico after a 66 on Sunday.

But Texas-born Mexican Ancer went even better, matching the course record with an eight-birdie 62.

"It was a lot easier than I thought", Molinari said with a wide grin. "This is what I came here for".


Woods finished T4 and showed some promising signs in his latest start (others not so promising), and he talked about his British Open prep for Carnoustie toward the end of his postround interview. Three birdies later, he was nine shots clear and on his way to victory in the Quicken Loans National. He's held the 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour 45 times and won an astounding 43 of those events, that's a 95.6 percent conversion rate.

The Swede started the day seven shots behind compatriot Marcus Kinhult but he birdied two of his last three holes to finish at 7-under 277. He never really regained his momentum, finished with another bogey and shot 68.

A group after Ancer closed with a nine-foot birdie putt, 14-time major victor Woods found a bunker at 18 and missed an eight-foot par putt, taking his fourth bogey to shoot 68 and share 10th on 203.

"It's an fantastic feeling - I still have to realize what's happened", Molinari said.

The Italian has played on two Ryder Cups and has won four times on the European Tour - including this year's BMW PGA Championship, that circuit's flagship event - but as this year progressed he found himself in a hard position. He's a two-time member of the European Ryder Cup team and is the only Italian player to win his country's national championship, achieving that feat in 2016. Close enough to make an 80th PGA Tour victory seem within grasp - he finished in a tie for fourth - but never truly threatening those at the top of the leaderboard. He moved to 42nd in the FedEx Cup standings with his win. This time, he had the course to himself with a back nine that was close to perfection, much like his week. "Last year I think I missed the Tour Championship by one shot, so that's the mission this year, and this is a good step forward".

Woods blistered his tee shot 316 yards at the 477-yard par-4 sixth and had a birdie putt outside of 12 feet after landing his approach to a tricky pin position tucked in the right corner. A possible top-5 finish turned into a tie for 11th.

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