With a final-round 64, Francesco Molinari claimed a two-shot victory over Matthew Fitzpatrick at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Molinari finished his four rounds at Bay Hill on 12-under par to secure his third career PGA Tour title. The victory earned the 36-year old native of Turin, Italy $1,638,000 and 500 FedExCup points.
Afterwards, Molinari met with the media at the Bay Hill Club and Resort. Here are a few from the back and forth.
This week’s 3 Questions for the Winner is powered by Callaway Chrome Soft Golf Balls, the brand Francesco Molinari trusted to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
CHASING THE LEAD PACK
Wonder, at the start of the day, knowing how talented Rory is, I think a lot of people thought this was his tournament even though he was one shot back. Did you think he was catchable at the start of the day and were you surprised that he didn’t move ahead?
FRANCESCO MOLINARI: I mean, I didn’t think particularly about Rory, I was thinking about him and the other guys at the top of the leaderboard. I thought there was a chance, yes, because playing in the last, third to last group yesterday I saw how difficult the course was the last few holes.
I thought, go out and try to make a few birdies and just keep pushing and obviously made a great putt at the first, great putt at the second for par, birdied the third and then you just build on momentum and everything was going my way kind of.
But, yeah, I think yesterday was massively important because I didn’t play, I was nowhere near my best, but I fought hard, I got the ball up-and-down when I had to, two really good up-and-down, 17 and 18 yesterday, to leave myself five back, which is, I thought at the time, still in position to get it done today.
If someone had said a few weeks ago when you were lying in bed with the flu and couldn’t move that you were going to have this trophy in your hands, what would you have thought or said?
FRANCESCO MOLINARI: No, it wasn’t even remotely in my mind, it was just trying to get well enough to travel to Mexico and not faint on the golf course altitude. So, yeah, it wasn’t ideal that the preparation was great up to that point and then something, sometimes things just happen and you need to deal with it.
But fortunately I feel a lot better now and it’s funny, yeah I’ve never been a fast starter in my career, so to get a win in what really is the second start of the season is pretty unusual for me, but it’s nice, especially after last year, obviously a lot of people were asking me how are you going to follow-up last year and the way was just to work hard and keep improving what we thought, myself and my team, that we could improve, and obviously this shows that we did a good job during the winter.
How does the red cardigan feel and also the Claret Jug was on display up by the press area up there, did that bring you good luck?
FRANCESCO MOLINARI: Yeah, I kind of see the Claret Jug every day when I’m at home, so I’m used to seeing it. Yeah, the red cardigan is great. Obviously it’s a symbol of what Arnie was and who he was and I’ve said it outside, coming from Italy, we weren’t exposed to that much golf, obviously Arnie was such a global icon that he was there and this tournament was one that we watched, my brother and myself, at home many times.
Watching Tiger making that putt on 18. So it’s still a bit unreal to think that I’ve done kind of the same today.
Credit: PGA Tour Media, Getty Images, ASAP Sports