Two-time British Open winner Pádraig Harrington was asked on Saturday whether he would go for broke the following day at Fota Island and try to win the Irish Open or take it steady and consolidate his top-10 finish.
“I’ll go out there and try to win. What use is 10th to me in the Irish Open? I won’t be remembered for that,” Harrington said, as you might expect.
Molinari, though, is coming from a very different angle. After two years of struggle with a wrist injury that has required two surgeries, the Italian Ryder Cup winner from 2010 engineereda place in his firstMajor since the 2012US Open thanks to his second-placed finish on 12 under par, a stroke behind Mikko Ilonen courtesy of a closing four-under-par 67.
With the British Open organisers the R&A offering an exemption into the field for Hoylake next month for the first three players at the Irish Open not already exempt, there was plenty of incentive to finish as high up the leaderboard as possible at Fota, not that Molinari was entirely satisfied with his final round.
“It was a scrappy day to be honest, probably the worst I played of the week today but I managed to keep a score going and make some decent putts,” Molinari, 33, said. “I was always missing on the right side, which helps. All in all, I’m very happy.”
And now to the British Open, which starts at Royal Liverpool in four weeks with one added Italian.
“It’s very exciting, after two years, starting with injury, starting with all sort of problems, I think it has not sunk in yet, but it is something that I was looking forward to go back to play the Major, especially now that I’m hitting the ball probably the best I’ve ever hit. So I’m really looking forward to it.
“I played Royal Liverpool my last event as an amateur, so it has a special place in my heart. It would be very nice to play my first Major after the surgeries of the last two years.”