The National 2018: Francesco Molinari Shoots Final-Round 62, Wins by 8 Strokes

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2018

Francesco Molinari, of Italy, watches his tee shot on the eighth tee during the final round of the Quicken Loans National golf tournament, Sunday, July 1, 2018, in Potomac, Md. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

Some players fold under the pressure of entering the final round with a lead.

Francesco Molinari soared.

Molinari carded a final-round 62 Sunday, giving him a dominant eight-stroke win at the 2018 Quicken Loans National. Ryan Armour finished in second place at 13 under, while Sung Kang, Tiger Woods and Abraham Ancer rounded out the top five.

The win is Molinari's first on the PGA Tour. He'd previously won five times on the European Tour. His finishing score of 21 under is the best in National history and comes in the final year of the tournament.

The National, which has been hosted by Woods' foundation, will cease operations after losing Quicken Loans as a sponsor. Rickie Fowler, who finished 12th, was the only top-10 player in the field. 

In fact, the only reason Molinari even played in this tournament was a chance at securing his PGA Tour card. 

"Our original plan was to play the French Open," Molinari's manager, Gorka Guillen, told Graham Parker of the New York Times. "It was not an easy decision for obvious Ryder Cup reasons and also because of how good Francesco has played at Golf National in the past. The decision was only made due to his FedEx Cup ranking this year [currently 122nd] and needing to secure his PGA Tour card for 2019."

Molinari did not have a single bogey in his final round and won the tournament on the back of a five-hole stretch where he went six under. The effort was highlighted by a 49-foot eagle on No. 10.

"It was a lot easier than I thought," Molinari told reporters. "I played great. The start of the back nine was incredible.''

Woods carded a four-under 66 in his final round. The fourth-place finish is his third top-five of the season but his first since March. 

"I was only four back at the time when I made the turn, and so I thought that maybe if I got on the back nine, I shot 30—maybe 29—that would be enough," Woods told reporters. "Evidently, I would have to shoot 24 on the back nine. What Francesco is doing back there is just awesome."

Ancer, who shot a third-round 62 to start the day with a share of the lead, shot two over while playing with Molinari. He did not record a single birdie the entire round, while his playing partner raced ahead for a record-setting victory. 

Related

    Woods Opens as a Torrey Pines Favorite

    Golf logo
    Golf

    Woods Opens as a Torrey Pines Favorite

    Joel Beall
    via Golf Digest

    Brooks and DJ Do the Maldives

    Golf logo
    Golf

    Brooks and DJ Do the Maldives

    Alex Myers
    via Golf Digest

    Diver Finds 50K Golf Balls Sitting at Bottom of the Ocean

    Golf logo
    Golf

    Diver Finds 50K Golf Balls Sitting at Bottom of the Ocean

    Christopher Joyce
    via NPR.org

    Scotty Cameron’s New Phantom X Putters 👀

    Golf logo
    Golf

    Scotty Cameron’s New Phantom X Putters 👀

    E. Michael Johnson
    via Golf Digest