Champion Golfer's Blog for August
After the most memorable month of his career in July, Champion Golfer of the Year Francesco Molinari enjoyed plenty more highs on the course during August.
Molinari held off competition from the likes of former Champion Golfers Jordan Spieth, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy en route to winning The 147th Open – his first major championship.
And having captured the Claret Jug with a stunning bogey-free final round of 69 at Carnoustie, the 35-year-old took a well-deserved holiday break with his family to the Bahamas.
But it was not long before he was back in action and challenging at the top of the leaderboard once more as August saw the new world number six get back to business.
Ryder Cup place secured
The Italian’s triumph in Angus not only saw him take home the most treasured prize in golf, it also mathematically assured him of a place on the European Ryder Cup team.
His last appearance in the match play showdown with the United States was six years ago when Europe pulled off the remarkable comeback now known as the ‘Miracle at Medinah’.
Molinari lost both his doubles matches in the 2012 Ryder Cup, but halved his match against Tiger Woods to secure outright victory for the European team.
It was his second Ryder Cup appearance after featuring alongside his brother Edoardo in 2010 and he will be hoping to continue his record of never being on the losing side at Le Golf National.
“It’s going to be a great honour to represent Europe in the Ryder Cup again,” said Molinari, who has four defeats and two draws from his six matches in the competition.
“One of the many benefits of winning The Open was that I knew then that I was going to be in the team so it has been a very enjoyable qualification for me this year.
“I think all of the guys will say the same - I am excited to be part of Team Europe again and will do everything I can to help Thomas and the Team try to win back the Ryder Cup.”
Champion Golfer returns
With many of his fellow pros referring to him as the ‘hottest player on the planet’ after bagging his maiden major title, it was not surprising to see Molinari quickly back in action after The Open.
Refreshed from his vacation, he headed to Firestone for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational off the back of three victories and two runner-up finishes in his last six worldwide starts.
But while he was unable to continue his hot streak, four solid rounds saw him finish in a tie for 39th in yet another demonstration of his unwavering consistency this season.
And it was not long before he was back challenging at the top of the leaderboard, with Molinari coming close to making it back-to-back Major titles at the PGA Championship.
He shot four rounds in the 60s to finish on ten-under at Bellerive Country Club, coming in a tie for sixth alongside Thomas Pieters, Justin Thomas and Gary Woodland.
It was an impressive fightback from Molinari, the first Italian to win a major, after he found himself three over after just seven holes of his opening round in the chase for the Wanamaker Trophy.
He played the remaining 11 holes in five under to card an opening 68, before rounds of 67, 68 and 67 saw him finish six shots behind winner, and two-time US Open champion, Brooks Koepka.
1st full practice day for the @BMWchamps & @FedEx playoffs with @F_Molinari in hot humid conditions challenging the ability to keep mentally resetting when shots don’t quite match intention = ugly zone @TaylorMadeTour @DairMagazine @TrackManGolf pic.twitter.com/qmwDNouiJm— Dr Dave Alred MBE (@dave_alred) September 4, 2018
Déjà vu at Northern Trust
After riding on the crest of a wave for most of the month, it was always likely that Molinari would slip up at some point along the way and so it proved in Paramus.
It was Molinari’s third consecutive appearance in The Northern Trust – the first of four FedEx Cup play-off tournaments – having missed the cut both times when he teed it up in 2016 and 2017.
But he continued to struggle at Ridgewood Country Club, posting a pair of 72s as he failed to progress to the weekend once again – his first missed cut since The Players Championship.
Despite making it a hat-trick of missed cuts at the event, Molinari’s stats were impressive in the first round as he hit 12 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens in regulation.
He also hit 14 of 18 greens in regulation during his second round, but back-to-back bogeys on the third and fourth, plus one more on the 18th, saw him miss the cut by two strokes.
While result was a blow to his FedEx Cup ambitions, Molinari is still in strong contention to reach the season-ending Tour Championship finale at East Lake.
He is currently sat in 14th place in the standings and having sat out the Dell Technologies Championship, a good finish at the BMW Championship will see him through.
Practice Day tickets are still available for The 148th Open at Royal Portrush in 2019 and remember, when you buy your tickets for The Open with Mastercard, you will receive a £5 discount per transaction.