European Tour

Olesen beats Molinari to win Italian Open thriller

2018-06-03 18:43
Thorbjorn Olesen
Thorbjorn Olesen (Getty Images)

Brescia - Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen claimed his fifth European Tour title at the Italian Open with a thrilling one-shot win over two-time champion Francesco Molinari of Italy on Sunday.

Olesen, playing alongside overnight leader Lee Slattery of England, hit seven birdies in a seven-under-par round of 64 at the Gardagolf Country Club in northern Italy.

The 28-year-old Dane, one stroke behind Slattery after the third round, finished on a 22-under 262 for his first title since the Turkish Open in November 2016.

"To come from behind and win, it's unbelievable," said Olesen.

"I haven't done that in my career so far, so that was very special.

"It was nice to hole that putt on the last and to get that feeling of holing it when it really matters.

"This is exactly what I needed."

One behind playing partner Slattery at the start of the day, Olesen wasted little time making his move with a birdie from 12 feet, with Molinari in the group ahead converting from ten feet on the same hole.

Birdies on the fifth and seventh kept Olesen in the upper echelons of a crowded leaderboard heading into the back nine. Further gains from 20 feet on the 12th and tap-in distance at the next saw him pull clear but Molinari kept himself within one by birdieing the 14th from 20 feet.

Molinari, chasing a third Italian Open after 2006 and 2016 a week after winning in Wentworth, finished second after a damaging bogey on the 17th hole in a final round 65.

Olesen needed a par at the final hole after Molinari sent the crowd wild with his seventh birdie of the day from 30 feet on the 18th.

The Dane looked in trouble when he pulled his drive a long way left but he held firm to complete a final round 64.

Slattery carded 67 to finish third on 20-under after a mixed round which included an eagle on the 15th, four birdies and two bogeys.

Leading scores after the final round of the Italian Open at Gardagolf, Brescia, on Sunday (par 71):

262 - Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN) 65-68-65-64

263 - Francesco Molinari (ITA) 66-66-66-65

264 - Lee Slattery (ENG) 66-69-62-67

266- Rafa Cabrera Bello (ESP) 65-67-68-66

267 - Andy Sullivan (ENG) 67-68-65-67, Graeme McDowell (NIR) 66-66-71-64, Lee Westwood (ENG) 66-70-68-63

268 - Martin Kaymer (GER) 68-63-68-69, Danny Willett (ENG) 65-67-67-69, Ian Poulter (ENG) 67-68-66-67, Jordan Smith (ENG) 67-68-65-68, Callum Shinkwin (ENG) 66-71-67-64, Ryan Fox (NZL) 69-68-67-64

Selected:

273 - Matthew Fitzpatrick (ENG) 66-70-71-66

274 - Padraig Harrington (IRL) 71-66-69-68



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