Molinari claims Palmer Invitational as McIlroy fades

Francesco Molinari fires a final-round 64 to capture Bay Hill title

Molinari charges to a 64 to win at Arnie's place

Sure, it was always going to be hard to deflect the fire Molinari was spewing, but at what point in a long series of "what are you going to do about that other guy having a career day?" do you start asking, "Why isn't Rory ever that other guy?"

"I was the first to make it with the flag in", Molinari said with a big smile, alluding to a new rule that allows the flag stick to stay in the cup with putts on the green.

South African Ernie Els (75) and world No. 3 Brooks Koepka (73) also missed the cut, as did Taiwan's C.T. Pan, who carded a second consecutive one-over 73.

McIlroy will saddle back up this coming week at the Players Championship, where he'll have yet another chance to alter the annoying narrative that will follow him until he redirects it.

The four-time major champion was bidding to successfully defend his title but a closing level-par 72 saw him finish four shots behind Francesco Molinari, who stormed to the title with an eight-under 64. "So good golf is good golf".

Earlier in his career, Molinari admittedly lacked the killer instinct to deliver such a final-round performance.

Matt Fitzpatrick managed to avoid bogeys Saturday on a course so firm he could barely find any pitch marks on the greens.

He was at 9-under 207, which spoke to the difficulty of a fast, fiery course that would have made Arnie proud.

Molinari said he didn't approach the final round with any special ideas of clawing his way back, instead seeking opportunities as they came along. "Today someone was saying it's a bit like a U.S. Open, which I could totally see". It gave him a two-shot lead at 12-under 276, and no one got closer than two shots the rest of the way.

Perhaps it was only fitting that the claret jug was at Bay Hill, which served as part of the Open Qualifying Series. He's finished inside the top-10 eight times in his last 11 starts.

Sunjae Im, Tommy Fleetwood and Rafa Cabrera Bello finished tied for third at nine under. "I would have needed to go out there to shoot 67 to better him, which would have been one of the best scores of the day".

"And I don't know, there must be something going on with that line (on 18), because it seems that a lot of guys winning the tournament make that putt".

Molinari soon would kick up his feet in the clubhouse and watch nervously as no one out on the course could keep up. "I think obviously confidence has to do a lot with it".

But Rory seemingly took to the game immediately, as Biography.com cites that the young golfer was able to hit a 40-yard drive by the time he was just two-years-old.

Since then he has won the Quicken Loans National, The Open, went 5-0 at the Ryder Cup and has now added a fourth victory in less than a year. He played bogey-free on the final day at Carnoustie for his first major.

Baddeley's wife Richelle and their five children flew to Orlando, from their Arizona home, earlier than their scheduled arrival for this week's Players Championship in the hopes of being present for a fifth career PGA Tour win for Baddeley.

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