McIlroy complained that he didn't hit the ball close enough on firm greens to give himself realistic birdie putts on Sunday.
Meeting with the media and donned in an Arnold Palmer red alpaca cardigan, Molinari toasted Palmer with one of the legend's favourite drinks, Ketel One vodka, on the rocks, with a twist of lemon. But the line was just right.
After holing the putt, he went to the locker room and watched on TV to see if his 12-under score would hold up. "I'm pretty sure I'm the first guy to make it with the flag in, though, so that's the real difference". "Being around Tiger and Arnie, two of the greatest guys to ever play the game, kind of a special hour or so that we all got to hang out and spend together".
That game-winning putt represented the final 43 ½ feet of 146 ½ feet of putts Molinari would make in his final round, the most in a round in his PGA Tour career.
Sweeping left-to-right from just inside 44 feet away, Molinari, who went on to win the event, hit the putt with the ideal amount of pace to put him in position for his third PGA Tour title in the last eight months.
Molinari drained a 45-foot putt on the 18th hole to cap a flawless final-round 8-under 64 and move to 12-under par 276 total.
The 36-year-old took the title out of the arms of a trio of eager young Englishmen who were all trying to win for the first time in America, and also defending champion Rory McIlroy, whose 12-month wait for a victory goes on after a mediocre 72.
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It's a sentiment that San Francisco general manager John Lynch shared at the National Football League scouting combine last month. For the 49ers, adding a premium edge rusher - or two - has always been at the top of their offseason shopping list.
Meanwhile, Victoria's Aaron Baddeley started the final day just two shots from the lead but faded with a 74. "But I think it's just been part of the process of, as a junior golfer I wasn't even the best golfer in Italy, so it's been a long journey since and step by step".
In some sports (i.e. the volatile ones such as golf and baseball), entry percentage matters more than in other, more consistent ones (e.g. basketball).
All that mattered was that it dropped, capping off a five-shot rally with a final round no one imagined on a fast Bay Hill course with putting surfaces that looked closer to white than green, making it hard for anyone to get it close to the hole.
"I said this after I won the Open Championship a year ago: I didn't enjoy it that half an hour at all and I didn't enjoy [Sunday] at all watching the other guys". "But obviously, when you get it done, then at the end it's a great feeling".
Molinari beat overnight leader Matthew Fitzpatrick (71) by two shots, while Tommy Fleetwood (68) Sungjae Im (68) and Rafa Cabrera-Bello (69) shared third place at nine under. McIlroy and last week's victor Keith Mitchell highlighted a group of four at eight under.
Molinari had to enter the clubhouse with his two-stroke lead while contenders were still well into their rounds. "I'm looking forward to seeing what happens going forward and playing in some bigger events".
And making putts ... and making putts. "I'm not scared to say that, or I'm not shy of confidence in that way", Molinari said.