Amid all the hoopla surrounding Tiger Woods’ incredible Masters victory, it’s easy to forget what happened to Francesco Molinari.
For much of Sunday’s final round at Augusta it seemed like Molinari had a date with destiny and a Masters green jacket, but it wasn’t to be.
The Italian had been rock-solid through the first 60 holes at Augusta, but when it mattered most his game deserted him.
With the pressure on down the stretch he inexplicably found the water twice and made double-bogey each time, first at Rae’s Creek on 12, and then again at 15 when he was still tied for the lead, effectively ending his chances.
Molinari eventually limped home in 74 to finish two shots off the pace on 11 under par, and was left to reflect on the couple of ill-conceived shots that ended up separating him from glory.
“I managed to scramble well on the front nine and I think I just had a couple of mental lapses on the back nine that were costly,” said Molinari.
“I think we picked the right shot and just didn’t hit it hard enough, as simple as that. And it was tough today with the wind gusting, but it is what it is. I was trying to hit a chippy eight‑iron. It was probably a nine‑iron yardage but I didn’t want the wind to gust and to get the ball too much and I just didn’t hit it hard enough.
“I think it wasn’t my day today. That ball on 12, if it’s one yard further left it probably goes in the bunker and the third shot on 15, it could easily not have clipped the tree and sometimes it is your day, sometimes it isn’t, but I’m really happy of the way I felt out there.
“I was calm, collected, never panicked, even after the first double-bogey, and I’ll learn a lot I think from today. Obviously I’ve done a couple of things that I wish I had done differently now, but I’ll learn from my mistakes.”
It seems the tide of history was with Woods on Sunday, just as it had been so many times in the past, and the momentous nature of the occasion was not lost on Molinari, despite his obvious disappointment.
“It’s great to see Tiger doing well but the way he was playing last year I think we all knew it was coming sooner or later,” said the Italian.
“Maybe next time it will be better for me, but it was nice to be out with him. He played very well, he hit the right shots at the right time and deserved to win.”
Molinari was even able to joke about his own misfortune, no doubt realising just how many people were left thrilled by his costly mistakes.
“I think I made a few new fans today with those two double bogeys,” he added with a smile.
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