Francesco Molinari (born 8 November 1982) is an Italian professional golfer. He is a four-time winner on the European Tour, with one of those wins being the WGC-HSBC Champions in 2010.
Background and amateur career
Molinari was born in Turin, Italy, and is the younger brother of Edoardo Molinari. As an amateur, he won the Italian Amateur Stroke Play Championship twice, and the Italian Match Play Championship in 2004. He turned professional later that year.
Molinari earned his European Tour card for 2005 through qualifying school. He finished in 86th place on the tour's Order of Merit in his rookie season.
In May 2006, Molinari claimed his first European Tour victory, becoming the first Italian since Massimo Mannelli in 1980 to win the Telecom Italia Open. This victory helped him finish 38th on the Order of Merit. Molinari didn't win on Tour between 2007 and 2009 but during that time he recorded twenty top-10 finishes including three runner-up finishes. He finished 60th on the Order of Merit in 2007, 24th in 2008 and 14th in the Race to Dubai in 2009. In October 2009, Molinari reached the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time.
On 29 November 2009, Molinari, along with his older brother Edoardo, led Italy to their first World Cup victory at the Omega Mission Hills World Cup in China.
2010 was Molinari's best year on Tour to date. On 7 November 2010, Molinari won the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, China. He defeated Lee Westwood by one stroke, finishing at 19-under par. The win moved him into 14th in the Official World Golf Ranking, his highest ranking to date. He also recorded eleven top-10 finishes including two runner-up finishes en route to a 5th-place finish in the Race to Dubai.
In October 2010, he represented Europe in the 2010 Ryder Cup which took place at Celtic Manor Resort, teaming up with his brother Edoardo in the four-balls (halved against Stuart Cink and Matt Kuchar) and foursomes (lost against Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan). He then lost the singles match by 4 and 3 against Tiger Woods on the final day. Europe defeated the United States 14½–13½.
Molinari had a steady 2011 without any further victories but did record seven top-10 finishes, including a 3rd place at the WGC-Cadillac Championship. He finished the year ranked 21st in the Race to Dubai.
Molinari picked up his third win on the European Tour on 6 May 2012 at the Reale Seguros Open de España. He was four strokes out of the lead going into the final round but fired a 65 (–7), the best round of the tournament, to win by three strokes over Alejandro Cañizares, Søren Kjeldsen and Pablo Larrazábal. In July 2012, the week before the The Open Championship, Molinari lost in a playoff at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open. He was defeated on the first playoff hole by Jeev Milkha Singh.
Molinari gained an automatic selection for the 2012 Ryder Cup, where he played the foursomes with Lee Westwood on Friday, losing by 3 and 2 to Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson; he then teamed up in the four-balls with Justin Rose, losing by 5 and 4 against Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson. On the final day, he halved with Tiger Woods the last singles match. The half-point meant Europe not only completed a comeback from 10–6 down at the start of the final day to retain the cup, but won it outright by a score of 14½ points to 13½.
During the 2013 and 2014 seasons Molinari didn't register any win, but his steady position in the top fifty of the OWGR ranking allowed him to play several PGA Tour events as a non-member, where he reached three top ten finishes; among these the most prestigious result was the 6th place at the 2014 Players Championship. These results allowed him to earn a full PGA Tour card for the 2014–15 season.
In 2015 and 2016 Molinari shared his time between the European Tour and PGA Tour. In September 2016 he became the first Italian to win his national open twice with a 1 shot victory over Danny Willett at the 2016 Italian Open. Other notable results in Europe were the 2nd places collected at the 2015 Open de España and 2016 Open de France, while in the US he collected a 3rd place at the 2015 Memorial Tournament. In the same year he also recorded a hole in one in the iconic 16th hole of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Molinari stated that he is a fan of English football team West Ham United after Italian football manager Gianfranco Zola started managing the East London side in 2008. Molinari's coach, Denis Pugh, also supports West Ham.
Amateur wins (5)
- 2002 Italian Amateur Stroke Play Championship, Italian Amateur Foursomes Championship (with Edoardo Molinari)
- 2004 Italian Amateur Stroke Play Championship, Italian Match Play Championship, Sherry Cup (ESP)
Professional wins (6)
European Tour wins (4)
|World Golf Championships (1)|
|Other European Tour (3)|
|No.||Date||Tournament||Winning score||Margin of
|1||7 May 2006||Telecom Italia Open||–23 (68-65-67-65=265)||4 strokes||Anders Hansen, Jarmo Sandelin|
|2||7 Nov 2010||WGC-HSBC Champions||–19 (65-70-67-67=269)||1 stroke||Lee Westwood|
|3||6 May 2012||Reale Seguros Open de España||–8 (70-71-74-65=280)||3 strokes|| Alejandro Cañizares, Søren Kjeldsen,
|4||18 Sep 2016||Italian Open (2)||–22 (65-68-64-65=262)||1 stroke||Danny Willett|
European Tour playoff record (0–3)
|1||2008||UBS Hong Kong Open||Lin Wen-tang, Rory McIlroy||Lin won with birdie on second extra hole
Molinari eliminated by par on first hole
|2||2010||Alstom Open de France||Alejandro Cañizares, Miguel Ángel Jiménez||Jiménez won with par on first extra hole|
|3||2012||Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open||Jeev Milkha Singh||Lost to birdie on first extra hole|
Other wins (2)
- 2009 Italian PGA Championship, Omega Mission Hills World Cup (with Edoardo Molinari)
Results in major championships
|The Open Championship||CUT||DNP||T13||CUT||CUT||T39||T9||T15||T40||T36|
DNP = Did not play
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" = tied
Yellow background for top-10.
|The Open Championship||0||0||0||0||1||3||9||6|
- Most consecutive cuts made – 12 (2013 Open – 2017 Masters, current)
- Longest streak of top-10s – 1 (twice)
World Golf Championships
|Year||Championship||54 holes||Winning score||Margin of victory||Runner-up|
|2010||WGC-HSBC Champions||1 shot lead||–19 (65-70-67-67=269)||1 stroke||Lee Westwood|
Results not in chronological order prior to 2015.
DNP = Did not play
QF, R16, R32, R64 = Round in which player lost in match play
"T" = Tied
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10.
PGA Tour career summary
*As of the 2015–16 season.
^ Molinari became member of the PGA Tour in 2015, so he is not included in the money list before
- Eisenhower Trophy (representing Italy): 2002, 2004
- Bonallack Trophy (representing Europe): 2004
- Palmer Cup (representing Europe): 2004 (winners)
- St Andrews Trophy (representing Continental Europe): 2004
- World Cup (representing Italy): 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 (winners), 2011, 2013, 2016
- Seve Trophy (representing Continental Europe): 2009, 2011, 2013 (winners)
- Ryder Cup (representing Europe): 2010 (winners), 2012 (winners)
- Royal Trophy (representing Europe): 2012
Ryder Cup points record