POTOMAC, Md. (AP) — Francesco Molinari delivered a record performance to win the final edition of the Quicken Loans National.
Molinari holed a 50-foot eagle putt to start the back nine, and he never stopped until he turned the final round into a runaway Sunday at the TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm. The Italian closed with an 8-under 62 for an eight-shot victory, matching the largest margin this year on the PGA Tour.
Molinari followed that eagle putt with an approach to 2 feet on No. 11, one of the hardest par 4s on tour that had yielded only one other birdie in the final round. He made three more birdies and ended his round by missing a birdie putt from 8 feet.
No matter. He finished at 21-under 259, breaking the tournament record by seven shots.
Tiger Woods closed with a 66, his lowest final round in more than five years, and he was never close. Woods tied for fourth, his best result since a runner-up finish at the Valspar Championship three months ago, though he was 10 shots behind.
Ryan Armour had a 68 to finish second, earning one of four spots to the British Open. The other three spots went to Sung Kang, who finished third after a 64; Abraham Ancer, who tied for fourth after a 72; and Bronson Burgoon, who had a day he won’t forget. He played with Woods for the first time and experience larger crowds and louder noise than he had ever experienced. And with a birdie on the final hole for a 67, he tied for sixth to earn his first trip to the British Open.
Molinari’s decision to stay in America paid off in a big way. He is around the fringe of Ryder Cup qualifying, and the French Open was this week on the Ryder Cup course outside Paris. He also was No. 123 in the FedEx Cup, so Molinari decided to play the Quicken Loans National and the John Deere Classic in two weeks to improve his standing.
The victory, his second on the PGA Tour schedule, gives him a two-year exemption and moved him to No. 42 in the FedEx Cup. Molinari previously won the HSBC Champions in 2010, a World Golf Championships event in Shanghai. But that was before the PGA Tour recognized it as an official victory unless a PGA Tour member had won the tournament.