Arnold Palmer Invitational
What better way to celebrate a newly inked club contract than to go out and back it up with a victory the same week? Francesco Molinari, who officially signed with Callaway, did just that this weekend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Playing in the event that honors Arnie, a legend of the game, is something that the top pros look forward to every year. This is an event Tiger Woods has won 8 times in his career, including the 2003 edition which he won by 11 strokes.
Before passing away in 2016, Arnold would greet the winner of the event with a big smile. Players embraced the opportunity to be center focus of one of many of their hero’s attention.
Since his passing, players have done their best to honor the man by donning the event’s logo on their gear for the week, and some players will even wear ensembles that pay homage to Palmer.
Playing 10 groups in front of the final pairing of Matthew Fitzpatrick and Rory McIlroy, Molinari started his Sunday off with a hot start, recording birdies on two of the first three holes. After a chip in on 8, Francesco made the turn 4-under for the day and started to set his sights on the leaders.
On the 13th hole, he went on to tie for the lead at 10-under par. However, the shot of the tournament for Molinari was probably his last.
Facing a 44-foot putt on 18, Francesco stepped up and drained it for birdie. He posted 12-under for the tournament and shot the low round of the tournament, an 8-under 64 on Sunday. Now he had to wait to see if his clutch Sunday performance would be enough to win the 2019 API.
No one in the ten groups after Molinari could muster a back-9 charge, and when Rory and Fitzpatrick concluded their rounds at 8-under and 10-under par respectively, Molinari was able to celebrate a two-stroke victory.
One other note from the Arnold Palmer Invitational, three players, American Keith Mitchell, and South Koreans Sung-Jae Im and Sung Kang all punched their tickets to this year’s Open Championship by virtue of their top-10 finishes.
Check out the clubs Francesco Molinari, the Champion Golfer of the Year, used to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational. (As reported by PGATOUR):
Commercial Bank Qatar Masters
Winning on any professional tour provides financial freedom, but more importantly, it secures playing status for years to come. South African Justin Harding, who has shot 63 in final rounds twice this year on the European Tour finally broke through for his first career victory at the Qatar Masters.
Harding is no stranger to winning. Last year he compiled four wins, two on the Sunshine Tour and two on the Asian Tour.
This time around, a final round 66 was all he needed this time to outpace the field. He finished the tournament at 13-under, two strokes ahead of a logjam of 9 players.
Much like Molinari, Harding was forced to wait and see if his score would hold. Surrounded by fellow players and friends on the range, he received word it was over, and he was the champion.
Kirk Triplett won the Hoag Classic using a Titleist Pro V1 golf ball. Nothing spectacular there. It was yellow. *record screeches* That’s right, this marks the first professional Tour win for Titleist’s new yellow Pro V1.
Playing alongside Woody Austin who finished the day at 10-under, Kirk Triplett knew he needed to make birdie on the final hole to force a playoff. The putt was never in doubt as it took the break perfectly and poured into the front of the cup.
In the playoff, Austin and Triplett traded pars on the first extra hole. However, on the second replay of the 18th, Triplett took command by taking an aggressive line, knocking his second shot to an almost identical spot where his birdie putt on 18 was at the end of regulation.
This time he eagled the par 5 and closed out Austin, who was staring at a birdie putt to continue the match if he missed.
This is Triplett’s seventh career Champions Tour victory and is 2-0 in playoffs.
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- WITB: Keith Mitchell, The Honda Classic & Tour Wrap - March 4, 2019