Molinari Returns To Rome 17-Years After Making A First Tour Cut In 2002 Italian Open

For Francesco Molinari it is somewhat an emotional return to this week’s Italian Open host venue at theĀ  Olgiata Golf Club in Rome.

The champion Italian golfer had made his European Tour debut, and as an amateur, in the 2000 Italian Open only to miss the halfway cut.

Francesco contested the 2001 Italian Open’s still as an amateur only to again miss out on the weekend rounds.

It was finally in 2002 and at this week’s host vene Francesco made the cut while still an amateur and in the year Ian Poulter captured his second Italian Open title on the Olgiata course.

Francesco Molinari looks back on a remarkable golfing journey (Photo – European Tour/Getty)

Molinari was also just five days shy of his 20th birthday and looked back 17-years to now and all that golf has presented the very affable Italian.

“I think it sums up the journey that I’ve had in golf, how lucky I’ve been and how hard I’ve worked as well,” he said.

“I was here on this course 17 years ago as an amateur making the cut and I think finishing 25th or something like that and starting to think, maybe I could make a living doing this. Fast forward 17 years and obviously things have gone far better than expected at the time.

“I think the first win on Tour, at least for me, I never knew it was coming. I think no one really expected me to win at the beginning of the week and you can almost feel the expectations growing through the week.

“Just an amazing relief I think to the 18th green and seeing all the people there celebrating, lots of friends and family. I couldn’t have asked for a better first win on Tour.”

Molinari contested two more Italian Open’s as an amateur before turning professional later in 2004.

In 2006, Molinari captured his first Italian Open by four shots and then a decade later he won a second national Open by a stroke at Monza.

A Ryder Cup debut and World Golf Championships victory would come in 2010, as well as a second Italian Open title in 2016, but even those successes could not prepare him for the glorious summer of 2018.

A first Rolex Series victory at the BMW PGA Championship and a Major triumph at The Open helped him win the Race to Dubai, while he also became the first European to take five points from five as the Ryder Cup was regained in Paris.

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