Magic Molinari Morocco 2017 Champion
RABAT—Italian golfer Eduardo Molinari claimed his first European Tour title since 2010 as he beat Irishman Paul Dunne in a sudden death playoff to win the 2017 Trophy Hassan II at the Royal Dar Es Salem in Morocco.
The former 2010 Ryder Cup player stormed into contention on the back 9 on Sunday as he made crucial eagles at the 12th and 18th to force a playoff with overnight leader Dunne.
A well-salvaged par in the playoff was enough to clinch the title after Dunne found trouble of the tee and was unable to hole his ten-foot putt for par, gifting Molinari the title.
It was the third European Tour title of the Italian’s career but his first since he won the Johnnie Walker Championship in 2010 to secure a pick in Colin Montgomerie’s victorious European side at the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.
Molinari started the day four shots behind the Irishman and after a quiet front 9 he birdied the 11th before eagling the par-five 12th to hurtle him up the leaderboard and into contention.
After bogeying the 16th, he bounced back straight away with a birdie at 17 before a clutch eagle putt on the 18th hole gave him a share of the lead.
“It’s fantastic,” Molinari told Sky Sports, “I’ve been through some very hard times with injuries and bad form. To be able to win this week deletes a lot of bad memories and hopefully I can keep going down this road.”
“It just shows that you should never give up, you should always keep trying, keep working hard. I've probably been the player who has spent the most time on the driving range over the last three years. This is a great reward for so much hard work," added the Italian.
Eduardo, former US Amateur Champion and older brother of world number 30 Francesco, will be hoping that this victory will act as a springboard for better things after years in the doldrums of the professional game.
Molinari underwent surgery on his left thumb and the subsequent rehabilitation ruined his 2013 season. The Italian lost his European Tour card in 2015 and was forced to attend Qualifying School in order to secure his playing priviledge for both the 2015 and 2016 season.
With funding guaranteed for the Rome 2022 Ryder Cup at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, Italian golf fans will be hoping for another Molinari-Molinari pairing and Eduardo’s impressive performance in Morocco could galvanise a late turn around in the 36-year-old Turin native's career.
The European Tour will move off to Asia this week for the Shenzhen International and the Volvo China Open, before returning to Europe where Molinari will lead a strong Italian contingent including Matteo Manassero,Nino Bertasio and Renato Paratore at the inaugural Rocco Forte Open in Sicily from May 18 to May 21.