Edoardo Molinari snatches play-off win at Trophee Hassan II
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 16/04/17 9:49pm
Edoardo Molinari produced a sensational finish to snatch his first European Tour title since 2010 as he edged out Paul Dunne in a play-off at the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco.
Molinari looked out of the running at the tough Royal Golf Dar Es Salam until he followed a birdie at 17 with a superb 20-foot putt for eagle at the last to vault into the lead on nine under, and Dunne bravely birdied 18 moments later to take the tournament into extra holes.
But after the pair returned to the 18th tee, Dunne blocked his drive deep into the trees and was unable to salvage a par, and Molinari held his nerve to lag to 18 inches from the rear of the green before tapping in to clinch his third Tour title, and his first since winning the Johnnie Walker Championship in August 2010.
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The Italian, who regained his card through Qualifying School after finishing 148th in last year's Race to Dubai, made an inconsistent start to his final round as he birdied the second and third in between bogeys at the first and fourth.
Molinari remained level for the day until sparking a late run up the leaderboard with a birdie at 11 before making only the fourth eagle of the day at the long 12th, but his hopes of victory looked dashed when he dropped a shot at 16.
But the 36-year-old gave himself an outside chance with another birdie at 17, and his nerveless putt for his second eagle of the back nine on the final green dropped in the centre of the cup to cap a five-under 68 and earn him the clubhouse lead.
Dunne, chasing his maiden professional win, got to nine under three times during his final round only to follow birdies at the fifth, 10th and 15th holes with bogeys at next each time.
But the Irishman drilled a hybrid from the right rough to the edge of the green at the last and chipped to four feet before holing the putt for a 71, although his celebrations were short-lived when he blocked his drive at the first extra hole.
He hacked out across the fairway and gouged his third into the bunker at the front of the green, and Dunne splashed out to eight feet but misread the par putt as it grazed the left edge of the cup.
Dunne had been scrapping for the lead for most of the back nine with England's Paul Waring, who turned in 35 and then birdied the 11th and 12th to get to eight under.
But he missed some good chances for further gains down the stretch and was unable to birdie the last as he settled for a 70 and outright third, with former Ryder Cup star Victor Dubuisson and Denmark's Lasse Jensen two strokes further adrift.
Dubuisson birdied the 18th for the fourth straight day to complete a resolute 70, while Jensen got himself into the mix with three birdies in four holes after the turn before struggling down the stretch, and a bogey at 17 took him out of the equation.
Waring's fellow Englishmen Daniel Brooks (70) and Chris Hanson (71) shared sixth on five under, while compatriots Jordan Smith and Ashley Chesters were one further off the pace.
Experienced Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal appeared to be a likely contender when he made his third birdie of the day at the 10th to get to seven under, but his composure deserted him as he bogeyed 11 and 17 either side of a double-bogey six at 15, where he needed two attempts to escape a fairway bunker.