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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Francesco Molinari raises his club on the 18th green after winning the Quicken Loans National on Sunday. He finished at 21-under 259.

Monday, July 02, 2018 1:00 am

Golf

Molinari cruises to win by 8 shots

Associated Press

POTOMAC, Md. – Francesco Molinari was torn between Paris and Washington until the last minute.

There was no doubting the decision Sunday afternoon, not with his name on a silver trophy in the shape of the U.S. Capitol, the lowest 72-hole score of his career and a stretch of golf that was close to flawless.

“The thought was just to keep pushing, keep making birdies and don't give anyone a chance,” Molinari said.

Molinari faced a 15-foot par putt on the ninth hole that he poured into the center of the cup to keep a three-shot lead. He holed a 50-foot eagle putt on the 10th. He hit a 6-iron to 2 feet for birdie on No. 11, which had yielded only one other birdie all day. Three birdies later, he was nine shots clear and on his way to victory in the Quicken Loans National.

The French Open offered valuable Ryder Cup points on a course where the matches will be played this fall. The Quicken Loans National was on its last leg with one of the weakest fields it has ever had, in the most oppressive heat that the Italian has ever played.

Molinari picked the PGA Tour because he was No. 123 in the FedEx Cup and wanted to improve his position, especially after missing the Tour Championship by what amounted to one shot last year.

“Seems like it was the right choice in the end,” he said.

He finished at 21-under 259 to break the tournament record by seven shots. He won by eight shots over Ryan Armour, matching the largest margin of victory this year on the PGA Tour.

“It was a lot easier than I thought,” Molinari said with a wide grin. “I played great. The start of the back nine was incredible.”

Tiger Woods closed with a 66, his lowest final round in more than five years, and he was never close. Woods tied for fourth, his best result since a runner-up finish at the Valspar Championship three months ago, though he was 10 shots behind. 

LPGA: In Kildeer, Illinois, Sung Hyun Park beat So Yeon Ryu on the second hole of a playoff in the KPMG Women's PGA Championship for her second major title.

After a brief rain delay on the par-4 16th hole at Kemper Lakes, Ryu's birdie try rolled past, and Park finished off her South Korean compatriot with a 10-footer. Park raised her arms and placed her hands on her head before hugging her caddie and wiping away tears.

Japanese teen Nasa Hataoka, after shooting an 8-under 64 to post at 10 under, dropped out of the playoff with a par on the par-4 18th.

Ryu made a 20-footer for birdie from the fringe, and Park followed from 10 feet.

Park closed with a 3-under 69. Ryu had a 73.

Jessica Korda (68) and Angel Yin (71) tied for fourth at 7 under, with Charley Hull (67) at 6 under. Brooke Henderson (74) was 5 under.

US SENIOR OPEN: In Colorado Springs, Colorado, David Toms made one long putt to take the lead, then another one to preserve it on his way to a one-shot victory in the he U.S. Senior Open.

Toms sank a 15-foot birdie on the par-3 16th hole at the Broadmoor to take the lead, then held on with a 20-foot downhill make after laying up from a fairway bunker on the 17th hole.

He saved par with a downhill knee-knocker from 3 feet on No. 18 to close out the round of even-par 70. Toms finished 3-under 277 to edge Jerry Kelly, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Tim Petrovic.

EUROPEAN TOUR: In Paris, Alex Noren closed with a 4-under 67 that stood up for a one-shot victory in the French Open.

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.

Julian Suri had a one-shot lead playing the 18th hole and hit his approach into the water, making double bogey. Chris Wood also was at 8 under until two bogeys over his last four holes for a 73. They shared second place with Russell Knox, who closed with a 65.