Molinari brothers give Italy first World Cup title

The Molinari brothers became the first brothers to win a World Cup title.
November 29, 2009

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SHENZHEN, China (AP) -- Francesco and Edoardo Molinari became the first brother combination to win the OMEGA Mission Hills World Cup, giving Italy its first title in the team event with a one-stroke victory over Sweden and Ireland on Sunday.

The Molinaris closed with a 4-under 68 in the alternate-shot final round on Mission Hills' Olazabal Course. They finished at 29 under and earned $875,000 each in the tournament that featured two rounds of better ball and two of alternate shot.

Francesco hit a long greenside bunker shot to 3 feet on the 18th to set up Edoardo's winning par putt.

“It’s been a tough day and we have been playing against some of the best golfers in the world. It was really tough until the last, but it feels even better when it is like that,” said Francesco.

“It’s really great for Italy. I think we deserved it as we attacked from the first day with every putt and every shot and we tried to make as many birdies as possible.

“I was lucky to hole two big putts on 12 and 13 which were probably the key moment and we just had to hang in there and hope for the best.”

Edoardo, the European Challenge Tour No. 1 and winner of last week’s Dunlop Phoenix in Japan, echoed his brother’s joy, adding: “It was a very sweet feeling after holing the putt. When I saw the bull in the bunker, it was lying okay, and I just said, ‘Francesco, just knock it on the green anywhere, and I'm going to hole the putt.’

“It was I think a great way to finish, to win by one shot against some really good teams like Ireland and Sweden.  I mean, all of the players involved in the other teams were Ryder Cup players, so I think we probably had not realized what we have done today.  But I think it's going to be pretty good coming back home.”

Sweden's Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson, the winners last year, shot a 69 to tie for second with Ireland's Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell (70). McIlroy and McDowell led after each of the first three rounds.

England's Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher (64) finished fourth, three strokes back at 26 under. Americans Nick Watney and John Merrick had the best round of the day, a 10-under 62 that gave them a sixth-place tie at 20 under.

Italy’s final-round 68 in alternate-shot play Sunday was the highest final-round score by a winning team since the tournament moved to Mission Hills’ Olazabal Course in 2007. Sweden shot a 9-under 63 last year, and Scotland fired a 66 on the final day in 2007.

Italy’s previous best finish at the World Cup came in 1998 when Massimo Florioli and Costantino Rocca finished runner-up.