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Sunday, 06 May 2012
Francesco Molinari   (Getty Images)
Francesco Molinari (Getty Images)
Francesco Molinari’s brilliant closing round of 65 earned him a third European Tour title at the Reale Seguros Open de España.

The Italian Ryder Cup player turned a four stroke deficit into a three shot win with his brilliant seven under par effort at Reale Club de Golf de Sevilla.

While overnight leader Simon Dyson could only manage a 76 - and that after birdies at the first two holes - Molinari produced the best round of the week.

Seven birdies in the first 14 holes and then four closing pars gave the 29 year old the first prize of more than €333,330 with an eight under par aggregate.

Molinari’s display was all the more impressive as he was the only player from his side of the draw in the top ten at the halfway stage, having had to face the worst of the wind and rain over the first two days.

Joint second were Dane Søren Kjeldsen and Spaniards Pablo Larrazábal and Alejandro Cañizares, while Dyson fell to joint 12th.

Molinari was ranked 14th in the Official World Golf Ranking when he beat Lee Westwood at the WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai nearly 18 months ago, but this was his first success since then.

What made it all the more special for him was that the tournament was first staged 100 years ago and came just before the first anniversary of three-time winner Seve Ballesteros' death.

"I knew I was playing well. I just needed some putts to drop," said Molinari, who moves back into the world's top 30.

"I was also hoping the other guys would not go too far under par and everything worked out perfectly."

He is still not in a qualifying position for this year's Ryder Cup, but added: "I just have to play the same golf a few more weeks and hopefully I will be there.

"Everybody is desperate to make the team, but unfortunately for us there are only 12 spots.

"It's going to be hard - there are a lot of great players in Europe at the moment."

In much easier conditions - the first three rounds were played in wind and rain - Dyson made quick amends for his closing double bogey on Saturday by sinking an 18 foot putt on the first and then holing out from sand at the next.

But it all started to go wrong for the Englishman when he ran up a six at the long fifth and further bogeys came on the seventh, eighth, 13th, 15th and 17th.

In contrast Molinari birdied three of the first five, then took the outright lead by two-putting the 545 yard ninth to complete an outward 32.

He picked up another shot from ten feet at the tenth, almost holed for eagle from over 50 feet on the 13th and converted a 15 foot chance on the next.

"The first leaderboard I saw where I was leading was on 12, but they had a few more birdie chances than me and so I knew I needed a couple more."

It was comfortable in the end, though. Kjeldsen, winner of the Open de Andalucía on the course in 2009, mixed three birdies with three bogeys on the back nine, while Larrazábal and the fast-finishing Cañizares were too far back.

All week the overnight leaders appeared cursed. Shaun Micheel followed his opening 67 with a 77, then Grégory Bourdy went from 66 to 80.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1MOLINARI, FrancescoITA18-8
T2CAÑIZARES, AlejandroESP18-5
T2KJELDSEN, SørenDEN18-5
T2LARRAZÁBAL, PabloESP18-5
T5OLESEN, ThorbjørnDEN18-3
T5CAMPILLO, JorgeESP18-3
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