Molinari finishes with a flourish, as Woods falters

Molinari finishes with a flourish, as Woods falters

Tiger Woods, chasing his first victory since 2013, charged early but faded late on Saturday at the Quicken Loans National, finishing six strokes behind co-leaders Abraham Ancer and Francesco Molinari.

Molinari carded eight-under-par 62 in the final round at TPC Potomac to become the first Italian victor on the United States-based circuit since Toney Penna in 1947.

It was also an encouraging week for Tiger Woods as he continues to improve since his return to the circuit, the American shooting 66 to finish 10 shots behind the victor in a tie for fourth on his last start before the British Open.

The leading four players in the top 12 and not already exempt secured qualification for The Open through the Open Qualifying series, with Armour, Kang, Ancer and Bronson Burgoon booking their spots for Carnoustie.

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There were no big numbers for Molinari, who made just two bogeys all week at TPC Potomac and put on a ball-striking show hitting 62 of 72 greens in regulation for the tournament. "It was not easy to skip Paris and the French Open".

"I guess one word (today) would be frustrating, to make four bogeys, I couldn't afford to do that".

It also gives him some freedom to pursue his other goal this season, which is to qualify for the European Ryder Cup team. That was more bothersome to Ancer than the heat.

The Swede started the day seven shots behind compatriot Marcus Kinhult but he birdied two of his last three holes to finish at 7-under 277.

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The win matched the largest margin of victory on the PGA Tour this year, as set by Dustin Johnson at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in January. Three birdies later, he was nine shots clear and on his way to victory in the Quicken Loans National. He won a World Golf Championship in Shanghai in 2010, though the PGA Tour did not recognize it as an official win. If I look back, nothing I can do any better than that.

Francesco Molinari, of Italy, putts on the 16th green during the third round of the Quicken Loans National golf tournament, Saturday, June 30, 2018, in Potomac, Md.

Molinari began the back nine by rolling in a 48-foot eagle putt, then began his birdie run. He missed the putt.

"I haven t done that, as I said, for the better part of two months, so that was nice, to make over 100 feet of putts twice this week". He missed the 13th fairway and took bogey for the second straight day. After he righted the ship with a birdie from 5 feet on 12, he bogeyed the short 13th after finding the rough with a 4-iron off the tee, just as he did in the third round, then missed from 4 feet for birdie on the 14th.

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Woods served as the tournament host when the PGA Tour stayed in Washington in 2007 down the road at Congressional, a tournament with a mission of honoring military around the Fourth of July.

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