Edoardo Molinari of Italy came through a playoff against Ireland’s Paul Dunne to win the Trophee Hassan II at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Rabat, Morocco.
Edoardo Molinari won his third European Tour title at the first hole of a sudden death playoff against Irish youngster Paul Dunne. Molinari, who played in the 2010 Ryder Cup, is back in the winner’s circle on the European Tour for the first time since the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles back in 2010.
Molinari looked to be out of contention in regulation play until a spectacular finish saw him leapfrog two Paul’s at the top of the board – Paul Dunne of Ireland and England’s Paul Waring. The Italian made a great birdie two on the difficult par-3 17th before finishing his round in style with a spectacular eagle on the par-5 last.
Those gains saw Molinari round in 68 and with a clubhouse total of nine-under-par. Both Paul Waring and Paul Dunne were at eight-under at that stage and both had the home hole still to play.
Paul Waring was unable to hole his birdie putt on the last but Paul Dunne made a fine up-and-down from the left side of the 18th green to make birdie and force extra holes.
Dunne and Molinari headed back to the 18th tee and the Irishman drove first. His tee shot leaked a long way to the right and ended in a thick lie amongst the trees. Molinari’s drive hugged the left edge of the fairway but found short grass.
After Dunne had pitched out, Molinari went for the green in two, his ball finding the front left bunker. Dunne’s third shot also ended in sand. Molinari played a heavy-handed bunker shot and went through the green before Dunne splashed out to within eight feet of the cup.
Molinari putted up close from off the back edge and that left Dunne with a par putt to keep the playoff going. It slid by the edge and Molinari was left to tap-in to take a third European Tour title.
Paul Waring ended the week alone in third and Victor Dubuisson of France and Denmark’s Lass Jensen were tied for fourth.
3 Talking points from the Trophee Hassan II
1 – This victory cements quite a comeback for Molinari who won twice in 2010, played in the Ryder Cup but then lost his card and had to come through Q School in both 2015 and 2016. Before this event, his last top-three finish on the European Tour came back in 2014 and through 2015 and 2016, he failed to earn a top-10. He is now exempt on the circuit for two years.
2 – Paul Dunne battled well during the final round and was unfortunate to have been matched by the fast finishing Molinari in regulation play. Dunne, who led the 2015 Open Championship through 54 holes while still an amateur, showed great composure to birdie the 72nd hole to make it to the playoff. His second place finish was the best of his European Tour career to date.
Paul Dunne swing sequence:
3 – It was another good week for English players with no fewer than five finishing in the top-10. They were: Paul Waring, Daniel Brooks, Chris Hanson, Ashley Chesters and Jordan Smith.
Trophee Hassan II
Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, Rabat, Morocco
Purse: €2,500,000 Par: 73
1 Edoardo Molinari (Ita) 71 74 70 68 283
2 Paul Dunne (Ire) 73 69 69 72 283
3 Paul Waring (Eng) 74 71 69 70 284
T4 Victor Dubuisson (Fra) 73 71 72 70 286
T4 Lasse Jensen (Den) 75 69 70 72 286
T6 Daniel Brooks (Eng) 73 71 73 70 287
T6 Chris Hanson (Eng) 74 70 72 71 287
T8 Ashley Chesters (Eng) 73 74 72 69 288
T8 Jordan Smith (Eng) 73 75 70 70 288
T8 Carlos Pigem (Esp) 75 72 69 72 288
T8 Trevor Fisher Jnr (RSA) 71 70 74 73 288
T8 Renato Paratore (Ita) 73 74 66 75 288
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage