Wednesday, 18 April 2018
Edoardo Molinari - in action during the pro am ahead of the Andalucia Valderrama Masters at Real Club Valderrama  (Getty Images)
Edoardo Molinari - in action during the pro am ahead of the Andalucia Valderrama Masters at Real Club Valderrama (Getty Images)

Edoardo Molinari does not feel he is far from another win as he returns to Royal Golf Dar Es Salam to defend his Trophée Hassan II title.

That was a first victory in seven years for the Italian who has endured a roller coaster since graduating from the Challenge Tour in 2007.

He failed to retain his playing privileges in 2008 but then hit a golden run of form, winning three times in 2009 to regain his card and then claiming two European Tour wins in 2010 en route to representing Europe in the Ryder Cup victory at Celtic Manor.

Injury took its toll and he lost his card in 2015 and 2016 only to regain it at the Qualifying School both times before his play-off victory over Paul Dunne 12 months ago.

The 37 year old has not recorded a top ten since but feels his game is trending in the right direction and arrives in Morocco confident he can claim a fourth European Tour title.

I feel like I'm really close - Edoardo Molinari

"It feels great," he said. "I obviously have great memories from this place and I remember most of the shots, especially those on Sunday, and it's fantastic to be back here.

"I'd gone through a couple of bad years, a couple of injuries in the wrist. At some point you think you can never come back to that kind of level and it was great.

"Last year wasn't particularly good apart from the win but I'm starting to play better so, hopefully, I can have a good week this week and try and defend it.

"I'm playing much better. I feel like especially in practice rounds and pro-am days I hit the ball as good as I ever have, probably.

"So I feel like this season would be a good season. I've been much more consistent. It's just a matter of being patient now and hoping that sooner or later the game will come in a tournament as well, but I feel like I'm really close."

Dunne recovered from his play-off defeat to win the British Masters supported by Sky Sports and last week finished second at the Open de España.

He has also enjoyed some recent success in America and believes his narrow defeat here 12 months ago has held him in good stead.

"I think it was the first time I was really in that position with three or four holes to play," he said. "I think I just learned about how best I can handle it. Then I did a good job of that come the British Masters but it was a great experience.

"It was great to know that on a tough course like this I could play well and give myself a lead. Obviously it's much different this year with the greens but it's still the same layout from tee-to-green visually so, hopefully, I can have another good week.

"I'm not any more determined than normal. My game has been in good shape for probably five or six weeks now, I've been playing some good golf every week. I'm just going to continue what I'm doing and hopefully have another chance to win and see if I can do better."

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