Francesco Molinari erased a five-shot deficit with a final-round 64 to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational by two shots over Matthew Fitzpatrick. The reigning Open Championship winner was officially introduced as a Callaway staffer on Tuesday and used a red-hot putting performance on Sunday to vault up the leaderboard.
Molinari poured in over 146 feet worth of putts during the round — the best of his career — and made everything from inside 15 feet with a Toulon Madison Stroke Lab putter that replaced his Bettinardi back in January at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
“Last year’s putter had a special place in my heart,” he said on Tuesday during an interview with GOLF.com at Bay Hill. “There was definitely an improvement in putting, but I think it was due more to the technical side, the technical work. But when you perform with one club in an area where maybe I haven’t performed so well in the past, it’s not so easy.”
Molinari credited Odyssey’s Stroke Lab shaft with making the putter transition easier. The multi-material shaft, which is 40 grams lighter than standard, is comprised of a steel tip and composite body. The weighting is concentrated in the tip to promote a smoother motion. The weight saved in the light shaft (10 grams) is placed in the sole via two weights while 30 grams was added to the grip.
“The feeling is a little bit different, but again, it was pretty good from the start,” he said. “So when you see you’re making putts and you’re controlling the speed, that’s all you want to see. The feel is different. You can feel it being more stable. I think about last year, especially longer putts, you could feel a little more movement in the shot, which is something probably you get used to. But it is now. Feels like it is easier to deliver the clubhead where you want it just because it feels more stable.”
Here’s a look at Molinari’s entire Callaway setup:
Driver: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero (Mitsubishi Chemical Tensei CK Pro Blue 70X shaft), 9 degrees
3-wood: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero (Mitsubishi Chemical Tensei CK Pro Blue 80X shaft), 13.5 degrees
Hybrid: Callaway Apex (Mitsubishi Chemical Tensei CK Pro Blue 90X shaft), 20 degrees
Irons: Callaway Apex Pro 19 (4-iron; True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shaft), Callaway Apex MB 18 (5-PW; True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts)
Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy 4 (50S, 56S and 60C degrees; True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts)
Putter: Odyssey Toulon Madison Stroke Lab
Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X