Francesco Molinari wins maiden PGA Tour title in convincing style at Quicken Loans

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Francesco Molinari won his first PGA Tour title with a convincing eight-shot victory at the Quicken Loans National in Maryland.

The 35-year-old entered the final day level at 13 under with Mexican Abraham Ancer, but two birdies on the front nine saw him pull away from the joint overnight leader.

He then went on a stunning run after the turn, with a 50ft eagle on the par-five ninth sparking him to pick up six shots in five holes before parring his way home for a 62.

The victory is the Italian’s first in the United States and further increases his chances making a third Ryder Cup appearance in September.

Speaking of moving into 42nd in the FedEx Cup standings after the victory, he told a press conference streamed on the PGA Tour’s Twitter page: “I came here obviously because I was right on the bubble in the FedEx and I wanted to gain a better position, so I guess job done.”

He added: “It was (a big risk), but the risk on the other side was I was 123rd on the FedEx Cup. When you play two tours, you need to balance the two things.

“It wasn’t an easy decision, I thought until the last minute whether to go to France or to come here but seems like it was the right choice in the end.”

Molinari finished at 21 under, eight shots clear of American Ryan Armour and 10 ahead of Tiger Woods.

The 14-time major winner fired a closing 66 to record his third top 10 in 11 events this season since returning from injury.

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Alex Noren clinches French Open title to strengthen Ryder Cup case

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Alex Noren will turn his attention to the Open Championship after staging a remarkable fightback to claim the HNA Open de France title.

Going into Sunday’s final round, the Swede found himself seven shots off the lead, but birdies at the 16th and 17th holes helped him card a 67 to set a target of seven-under-par which ultimately proved beyond the field at Le Golf National in Paris.

That completed a 10-under-par weekend for Noren, who saw American Julian Suri’s challenge dissolve when he found water with his second at the 18th and emerged with a double-bogey six.

He told Sky Sports: “On a course like this, anything can happen and I was just trying to get to six, seven, eight under. I thought that could get you into a play-off.

“The feeling of the birdie on 17, I really wanted that. You always want that and finally, I made one of those when it really matters.

“It’s unbelievable. I never thought I was going to win. It’s a tricky golf course. The first two days were really tough for me and I played a lot better on the weekend.

“It’s not the way you want to see your opponent come in, but we all fight our there and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. I feel very happy right now.”

Noren’s second Rolex Series title could hardly be better timed with the Open less than three weeks away.

He said: “The Open has been the best major for me result-wise. I’m going to have a week and a half of good practice and see what I can do.”

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World No2 Justin Thomas bidding for victory at French Open as he prepares for Ryder Cup

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World number two Justin Thomas insists he is at the French Open to win the tournament not scout Le Golf National for September’s Ryder Cup.

The US PGA Champion said his first appearance at the event in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, just outside Paris, was for personal and team gain.

“It obviously has some additional intent to it with the Ryder Cup, but it just worked out in the schedule for me to come here,” the American told a press conference.

“I wanted to play against a great field and it looks like we’re going to.

“It’s an opportunity for world rankings points and there are so many positives: an opportunity to come to Paris, visit Versaille and I didn’t want to take three weeks off before a major.

“It’s a big deal on the European Tour and I’m happy you are letting me come over here and crash the party.

“It would mean more to me winning a European Tour event because it’s something I’ve never done.

“It would help deep inside of me (for the Ryder Cup), but it is so far away and (the course) will be playing so different.

“It would be a tremendous honour just to win the tournament alone.”

Thomas revealed a number of his likely Ryder Cup team-mates will play the course next month when they make the trans-Atlantic journey for the Open.

However, he will not be joining them in France.

“I felt coming here and getting hopefully four competitive rounds and some practice rounds would be plenty for me,” added the 25-year-old, who has already done his sightseeing in Paris – avoiding the mistake compatriot Bubba Watson made in 2011 when he referred to “that big tower” (Eiffel Tower), an “arch I drove around in a circle” (Arc de Triomphe) and “a building starting with L” (the Louvre).

“For me the Open is a major which I prep my schedule around all year so I want to be rested for that.

“I will take a week off. Although it would be very productive in terms of the Ryder Cup I need to get my body and mind ready for the Open Championship.”

Thomas will play the first two rounds with defending champion Tommy Fleetwood and home favourite Alexander Levy.

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