European Tour

Modest Molinari braces for one last push

Francesco Molinari (AP)
Francesco Molinari (AP)

Cape Town - World No 6 Francesco Molinari is set for a few more weeks of golf as he looks ahead to the end of the European season.

The Italian is preparing for this week's WGC-HSBC Champions Tournament at Sheshan International in Shanghai, where victory would seal his position at the top of the Race to Dubai rankings.

"Because of the way I play the game, tough courses suit me," the 35-year-old told hsbcgolf.com.

"It's great to be leading the Race to Dubai and I want to try to win in Shanghai to get me closer to finishing the year as the European No 1. I'm quite tired after the run I've had, so I'll take the next week off to prepare properly for the final event in Dubai.

"I'll then have a seven-week break so I can put the clubs away and spend some time with the family at home in London. I haven't had much time to sit down and reflect on the season so far, but there's a real sense of achievement."

A 'sense of achievement' is somewhat of an understatement.

After struggling in the first half of the season, Molinari kicked into gear at the European PGA Championship, which started a superlative run. He followed the victory up with a runner-up finish at the Italian Open, went on to win the Quicken Loans Invitational by seven strokes and then held off a charging Tiger Woods at The Open to win his first major.

As if that wasn't enough, Molinari went on to become the only European to win all five of his matches in a winning Ryder Cup campaign at Le Golf National.

"When they are not playing well 90 percent of the golfers on tour will tell you it's just around the corner," he reflected.

"I really believed that, but in reality you never really know. Early in the season I wasn't playing very well and it was frustrating because I felt I'd improved last year as a player but I wasn't seeing the scores or the results.

"Winning at Wentworth definitely gave me a boost of confidence that carried into the summer. After that I went on to win the Quicken Loans event on the PGA Tour in America and then it was like a snowball effect leading to the Open at Carnoustie and the Ryder Cup in France."

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