Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Edoardo Molinari

Edoardo Molinari (born 11 February 1981) is an Italian professional golfer. He is a two-time winner on the European Tour, 2005 United States Amateur champion, 2009 Challenge Tour Rankings leader, winner, with his brother Francesco, of the 2009 World Cup and a member of the 2010 European Ryder Cup team. He has won professional tournaments on four of six continents on which golf is played: Europe, South America, Africa and Asia. Molinari was born in Turin to Micaela, a now retired architect, and Paolo Molinari, a dentist. He began to accompany his father to the golf course at age eight. Molinari speaks fluent English and Spanish in addition to Italian. His longtime girlfriend is Anna Roscio, who also lives in Turin. She caddied for Molinari at the 2010 Masters Par-3 Tournament. Denis Pugh, of London, serves as a swing coach to both Molinari brothers. He postponed retirement to work with the Molinari brothers, and he helped to rebuild Edoardo's swing, moving from hitting predominantly draws to fading the ball. Molinari is nicknamed "Dodo" because his younger brother, Francesco, couldn't pronounce "Edoardo" as a child. He continues to live in Turin and to represent his home club, Circolo Golf Torino. His interests include the Juventus Football (soccer) club and the Internet. He is considered one of the most emotional players on the European PGA Tour and one of the most attractive players on the tour. He is also considered very popular with his fellow competitors on tour, many of whom advocated his selection to the 2010 European Ryder Cup team. Molinari is now working with Irish caddie Colin Byrne, who has earned 20 wins with other golfers such as South African major champion Retief Goosen.

During a distinguished amateur career, Molinari won several national championships. The undisputed highlight of his amateur career came in 2005, when he became the first Italian and the first Continental European to win the U.S. Amateur. He claimed the title by holing a 25-foot birdie putt on the 33rd hole to win 4 & 3 over the American Dillon Dougherty. As a result of that victory, Molinari qualified to play in the 2006 U.S. Masters, U.S. Open and The Open Championship. His younger brother Francesco, who is also a professional golfer, caddied for him at that year's Masters. Molinari turned professional in 2006, after graduating from the Polytechnic University of Turin with a degree in engineering. In 2007 he won the Club Colombia Masters and the Tusker Kenya Open on Europe's developmental Challenge Tour. The two victories and his consistent play led to a 16th place finish on the season-long money list. That success enabled him to play on the top level European Tour during the 2008 season. Molinari's play was uneven during that season due to a wrist injury, and he was unable to retain his playing privileges in 2009.

Molinari returned to the Challenge Tour in 2009, where he was again successful, earning his third professional title at the Piemonte Open in May, in his home town of Turin. He also won the Kazakhstan Open in September and the Italian Federation Cup in October. He also came 2nd in the Club Colombia Masters, the Scottish Hydro Challenge, the Trophée du Golf de Genève and the ECCO Tour Championship. He topped the Challenge Tour money list in 2009 with record earnings of €242,979, almost €100,000 more than the previous high total. On 22 November 2009, Molinari won the highly-regarded Dunlop Phoenix Tournament in Miyazaki by defeating 2008 European Tour Order of Merit winner Robert Karlsson of Sweden by sinking a four-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole after the two tied in regulation play. Molinari was the first Italian winner on the Japan Golf Tour. On 29 November 2009, Molinari partnered his younger brother Francesco to lead Italy to their first World Cup win at the Omega Mission Hills World Cup outside Shanghai, China. Edoardo leapt joyously around the 18th green after sinking the winning putt. This was the first win in the event by brothers and the first Italian victory in the event, generating significant coverage in the Molinari brothers' homeland. During 2009, Molinari's Official World Golf Ranking rose from 753 to 48.

On 29 March 2010, Molinari earned his best finish on the U.S. PGA Tour, finishing second by two shots to South African Ernie Els at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and earning his then largest check of $528,000US.[14] Molinari holed a 50-foot putt on the 17th hole of the final round that was selected as "Shot of the Day" by NBC, the US network covering the tournament. On 11 July 2010, Molinari won his first European Tour tournament, claiming the Barclays Scottish Open at Loch Lomond by three strokes over Darren Clarke. Francesco Molinari played alongside his brother and Clarke in the final threesome. Following Franceso's win in the 2006 Italian Open, Edoardo's victory in Scotland made the pair the third brothers to win on the European PGA Tour after Seve and Manuel Ballesteros and Antonio and German Garrido. On 29 August 2010, Molinari won his second European Tour title, the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, by one stroke from Australian Brett Rumford, after birdieing the final three holes. Molinari's brother Francesco once again was paired with the eventual champion in the final round. Shortly afterwards, European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie named Molinari as one of his three "wild card" selections for the 2010 matches at Celtic Manor in Wales, along with Pádraig Harrington and Luke Donald. Molinari's brother Francesco also earned a place on the European team through the points list. The Molinaris are the first brothers to compete together in a Ryder Cup side since Bernard and Geoffery Hunt played for the Great Britain and Ireland side in the 1963 edition of the biennial team competition. Molinari's successful 2010 campaign saw him rise to a career-high of fourteenth in the Official World Golf Rankings. Molinari finished the 2010 season ranked 11th on the Race to Dubai, formerly known as the European Tour Order of Merit. He finished the year ranked eighteenth in the world.

TaylorMade-Adidas Golf Tour Staff professional Edoardo Molinari won the Johnnie Walker Championship with an electrifying birdie-birdie-birdie finish at Gleneagles, erasing a two-shot deficit with three holes to play to earn his second European Tour victory. It was a landmark win in every fashion, marking the 40th worldwide tour victory for TaylorMade drivers this year and helping secure Molinari’s place on the European Ryder Cup team. It was announced following the championship that Molinari, who played an R9 SuperTri driver and Penta TP ball, had been selected as one of three captain’s picks to compete at Celtic Manor in October. The win was a product of brilliant ballstriking and consistent driving; for the week, Molinari, who played R9 TP irons, ranked third in greens in regulation (76.4%) and 13th in driving accuracy (73.2%). Molinari also helped in achieving a milestone for Penta TP, the first five-layer Tour ball, which has now been played in 15 worldwide tour victories. With the win, Molinari, 29, will move into the top-20 in the Official World Golf Rankings for the first time in his career. Meanwhile, fellow European and adidas Golf Tour Staff professional Bernhard Langer notched his fifth Champions Tour victory this season at the Boeing Classic. The win continues a remarkable stretch of golf for Langer, who last month won back-to-back major championships at the Senior Open Championship and the U.S. Senior Open.

Europe's Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie on Sunday selected triple major winner Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald and Edoardo Molinari as his three wildcard picks for the clash against the United States at Celtic Manor on October 1-3. The three join automatic qualifiers Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter, Ross Fisher, Francesco Molinari, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Peter Hanson in the European squad. Montgomerie's decision means Paul Casey and Justin Rose will not be part of Europe's bid to win back the Ryder Cup. Advertisement: Story continues below Harrington, Casey, Donald and Rose chose to stay in America in the last two weeks when returning to Europe could have seen them qualify, so Montgomerie was left with five players in the world top 22 chasing a pick. Montgomerie asked all four to play at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles and they all turned him down. No brothers have played in the same match since Bernhard and Geoff Hunt in 1963, but Edoardo Molinari changed that with a three-birdie finish to win the Johnnie Walker title in dramatic fashion earlier on Sunday and convince Montgomerie of his credentials. The Italians won the World Cup together last November and Edoardo, winner of Europe's Challenge Tour last season, also staked his claims by winning the Dunlop Phoenix title in Japan and the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond - as well as coming second to Ernie Els in the US Tour's Arnold Palmer Invitational. Harrington's candidacy was boosted by being the only three-time major winner amongst the players.

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