SEVILLE, Spain (AP) – Francesco Molinari shot a 7-under 65 Sunday to win the Spanish Open by three strokes, the first Italian to capture the European Tour event.
Molinari finished at 8-under 280 in the 100th edition of the tournament for his third victory on the tour. He entered the final round four strokes behind leader England's Simon Dyson, who shot a 76 and tied for 12th place.
“It's just to win any tournament on the European Tour, but one with the history of this one, in the year of the centenary, is something fantastic,'' Molinari said.
Molinari was followed by Spaniards Pablo Larrazabal (71) and Alejandro Canizares (69) and Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen (69).
Matteo Manassero (70) was tied for seventh. The Italian will have to wait until Monday's rankings to see if he has moved back inside the top 60 to qualify for the U.S. Open next month. Manassero arrived in Seville ranked 64th but needed to finish seventh on his own to be assured of qualifying.
Molinari spent an hourlong putting session with former player Mark Roe before teeing off.
“I just went out today knowing that if the putter was a little bit hotter I had a chance,'' Molinari said. “So I just tried to stay calm and I got off to a great start and hit the ball very well, so everything felt easy, even if it wasn't.''
Monday marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Seve Ballesteros, the Spanish golf great who won this tournament three times.
“It's a very special time to win in Spain,'' Molinari said.