FRANCESCO MOLINARI HAS become the first Italian to win the Open de Espana after posting a magnificent final round of 65.
The 29-year-old secured a third European Tour title in his 205th European event after turning a four-stroke deficit into a three-shot victory with Sunday’s seven-under-par round.
Molinari’s final 14 holes saw him sink seven birdies and then four closing pars to finish at eight-under overall and claim first prize and a European Tour exemption until the end of 2014.
Englishman Simon Dyson, who led overnight, finished 12th following his 76 in the closing round.
Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark ended the day joint second alongside Spaniards Pablo Lazzarabal and Alejandro Canizares on five-under.
In what is his first victory since winning the 2010 WGC-HSBC Champions event, Molinari knew it was a matter of time before he returned to winning ways.
“I knew I was playing well. I just needed some putts to drop,” said Molinari, who will move back into the world’s top 30.
“I was also hoping the other guys would not go too far under par and everything worked out perfectly.”
With this year’s Ryder Cup approaching, Molinari is aware it won’t be easy to make the cut with only 12 spots up for grabs.
“I just have to play the same golf a few more weeks and hopefully I will be there,” he said.
“Everybody is desperate to make the team, but unfortunately for us there are only 12 spots.
“It’s going to be hard – there are a lot of great players in Europe at the moment.”
He now moves to second on the list of most wins by an Italian in European Tour history with three, two behind Costantino Rocca, who has five victories.
Spaniard Jorge Campillo and Dane Thorbjorn Olesen finished tied for fifth at three-under, while a group of five players – Austrian Markus Brier, Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts, Italian Matteo Manassero, Northern Irishman Gareth Maybin and England’s Graeme Storm – were a stroke further back in a share of seventh.