Runners and Ryders: DeChambeau dazzles as Molinari hits the front

Francesco Molinari leads the way in the European Ryder Cup points list after continuing his good form at the Italian Open.

Thorbjorn Olesen and Francesco Molinari at the Italian Open   -  Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

Finishing second may not normally be viewed as a positive outcome, but Francesco Molinari had plenty to be pleased about despite coming up short in his bid to claim the Italian Open.

A birdie blitz on the back nine raised the prospect of in-form Molinari not only winning on home soil but also making it back-to-back triumphs on the European Tour.

However, Thorbjorn Olesen held off the determined challenge from the local favourite in an eventful finish.

Both men came up with impressive putts at the 18th hole, but Olesen's effort for par made sure he finished one shot clear of his rival, who had found the cup from long range earlier on the same green to crank up the pressure.

Still, Molinari's performance at Gardagolf Country Club – coming hot on the heels of his triumph at Wentworth in the BMW PGA Championship – means he now tops the European points list in the race to qualify for a Ryder Cup spot.

Olesen also rises up the rankings, with a fifth title in his career leaving him just outside the automatic qualifying spots.

The Dane's performance in Italy earned praise from Team Europe's captain and compatriot Thomas Bjorn on Twitter. "So happy for my pal," Bjorn wrote. "Very gutsy all day and especially on the last! Up the Vikings!"

By finishing fourth in Brescia, Rafael Cabrera Bello improves his prospects of making the team for Le Golf National. The Spaniard sits eighth in the updated world points list, ahead of countryman Sergio Garcia.



On the PGA Tour, taking part in a play-off definitely paid off for Bryson DeChambeau, as he claimed the Memorial Tournament ahead of Kyle Stanley and An Byeong-hun after the trio had all finished on 15 under par.

DeChambeau birdied the second extra hole as he outlasted his rivals at Muirfield Village, with the result also boosting his hopes of appearing in the United States team for the first time.

While his trademark flat cap could add a touch of style to the American kit for the event, the 24-year-old's composure under pressure suggests he could also be the perfect fit for the Ryder Cup format.

DeChambeau's success sees him occupy the eighth and final automatic spot for captain Jim Furyk's squad, with Phil Mickelson the player to slip below the cut-off line.

The only other change in the top eight sees Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson swap places, though there still should be plenty of twists and turns in the qualification race over the coming weeks and months.


European points list (top four earn places)

1. FRANCESCO MOLINARI: 3,123,804.01
2. TYRRELL HATTON: 3,096,447.75
3. JUSTIN ROSE: 2,961,330.27
4. RORY MCILROY: 2,155,801.95


5. Thorbjorn Olesen: 2,121,645.58
6. Jon Rahm: 2,088,832.87
7. Ross Fisher: 1,753,993.16

World points list (top four not already qualified via European Points list earn places)

1. Justin Rose: 270.14
2. JON RAHM: 248.36
3. Rory McIlroy: 216.99
4. Francesco Molinari: 186.81
5. Tyrrell Hatton: 176.17
7. ALEX NOREN: 158.67


9. Sergio Garcia: 126.63
10. Ian Poulter: 126.60
11. Matthew Fitzpatrick: 121.89

United States points list (top eight earn places)

1. PATRICK  REED: 6,785.090
2. JUSTIN THOMAS: 6,592.573
3. DUSTIN JOHNSON: 5,401.897
4. JORDAN SPIETH: 4,795.306
5. BROOKS KOEPKA: 4,479.348
6. RICKIE FOWLER: 4,172.647
7. BUBBA WATSON: 4,128.024


9. Phil Mickelson: 3,812.265
10. Webb Simpson: 3,622.307
11. Matt Kuchar: 3,386.946


Next up

European Tour: Shot Clock Masters, Austria
PGA Tour: FedEx St. Jude Classic, Memphis

Support Sportstar

Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.