Molinari dunks his hopes on back nine
Francesco Molinari’s chances at the 83rd Masters Tournament evaporated where so many dreams have dissolved before.
The Italian entered No. 12 on Sunday afternoon with a two-shot lead before finding Rae’s Creek off the tee. Three holes later, he again found water — this time on No. 15. The pair of second-nine double bogeys crippled his chances, and the reigning British Open champion tied for fifth.
“One bad swing,” Molinari said. “Then one bad decision.”
For Molinari, the swing miscue occurred on No. 12, when he chose to play a “chippy 8-iron” at what he believed was a 9-iron distance.
“I didn't want the wind to gust and get the ball too much,” Molinari said. “I just didn't hit it. If it’s one yard further left it probably goes in the bunker.”
Molinari’s regrettable decision came on his third shot to No. 15.
Although tree branches were impeding his target, Molinari chose to attack the pin anyway, but his ball clipped a limb and found water.
“Sometimes it’s your day, sometimes it isn’t,” Molinari said. “I did a few things I wish I had done differently now but I’ll learn from today. If it doesn't hit the branch it might go close to the hole, but I should have hit to the middle of the green.”
After carding a first-round bogey on No. 11, Molinari went 49 holes without a blemish until No. 7 on Sunday. The Italian responded with a birdie on No. 8 to shoot even par on Sunday’s first nine. He played the second nine in 2 over.
“I didn't play my best but I fought hard,” Molinari said. “I’m proud of myself.”
As for playing alongside Tiger Woods, Molinari said, “The way he was playing last year, we knew it was coming sooner than later. He deserved to win.”