Olesen edges out Molinari to win Italian Open

Francesco Molinari missed out on claiming back-to-back titles on the European Tour as he finished second to Thorbjorn Olesen.

Published : Jun 03, 2018 22:21 IST

Thorbjorn Olesen kept his nerve on the final hole as he held off the challenge of home favourite Francesco Molinari to triumph at the Italian Open.

With nearest challenger Molinari sinking a long birdie putt to move to 21 under, Dane Olesen knew a par at the last would secure a fifth title on the European Tour.

He looked in trouble after pulling his drive to the left, with the tension increasing when his approach shot to the green found a bunker.

However, Olesen successfully chipped out of the sand before rolling in a par putt to sign for a final round of 64 in Brescia, leaving him one clear at the top of the leaderboard.

"I was standing down there in the rough and saw him [Molinari] roll in that birdie putt," Olesen told the European Tour's official website.

"At the back of my mind I thought bogey would probably make it to win, then all of a sudden I needed a four.

"I definitely made it tough, but it was nice to hole that putt on the last and get that feeling of holing one when it really matters."

Fresh from winning the PGA Championship at Wentworth, the in-form Molinari had delighted the crowds at the Gardagolf Country Club with a stunning burst of birdies on the back nine.

He sunk four in a row from the 13th onwards to raise the possibility of making it back-to-back victories, only to crucially drop a shot at the penultimate hole.

Overnight leader Lee Slattery finished third on 20 under after an up-and-down round of 67 that included an eagle at the 15th.

Rafael Cabrera-Bello was a further two shots back in fourth place, with Lee Westwood - who fired a flawless score of 63 on Sunday - and Graeme McDowell tied alongside Andy Sullivan on 17 under par.

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