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By Keith Jackson at Walton Heath
Last Updated: 10/10/18 5:12pm
Francesco Molinari is determined to cap a “great summer” by becoming European No 1 as he prepares to return to action at the Sky Sports British Masters.
Molinari has compiled a remarkable list of career-defining achievements this year, highlighted by his maiden major victory at The Open followed by a record-breaking five wins out of five which helped propel Europe to victory at the Ryder Cup.
The Italian’s superb run of form was ignited by his impressive win at the BMW PGA Championship at the end of May, while he also landed his first PGA Tour title at the Quicken Loans National three weeks prior to his triumph at Carnoustie.
Molinari is one of the headline acts at Walton Heath this week as he continues to bask in the glory of Europe’s Ryder Cup win a fortnight ago, and he is looking forward to playing the opening two rounds with his “Moliwood” partner, Tommy Fleetwood, as he looks to consolidate his position at the top of the Race to Dubai standings.
Asked if winning the Harry Vardon trophy kept him motivated for the remainder of the season, Molinari said: “That’s the big goal I have, but there’s Tommy and there’s many other guys who are chasing me.
“There’s still a lot of points and money to play for, so what I can do is try to approach day by day, tournament by tournament, like I’ve done so far, and do my best and then we’ll see after Dubai if that’s enough for now.
“Obviously it’s been a great summer but it’s also been a tiring summer. So I think it’s going to be important to manage my mental energies more than anything, and I’d love to do it. I know it’s not going to be easy but I’m going to do my best to try and achieve it.
“I think, since Wentworth, I’ve not had two weeks off this summer. I had a week off here and there but really it’s been a bit of a blur. It’s been going fast and so many things happening, and I’ve really not had enough time to rest and recover.
“My back at the end of The Ryder Cup was not great. On Monday, I couldn’t do my shoelaces. I’m not a kid like Tommy. I need to manage my energies and my body.”
Molinari and Fleetwood won Europe’s first point in the morning foursomes at Le Golf National, a victory that turned the overall match on its head, and the pairing went on to win all four points – three of them against Tiger Woods.
“It’s going to be a little strange to try and beat each other instead of playing as a team, but yeah, it’s been great,” Molinari added. “Those days with Tommy, we both really wanted to play together. We thought we could have been a successful partnership.
“And it was great from the first morning when we managed to turn the match around on Friday, and it was a big confidence boost. It was great for the remainder of the Ryder Cup.”
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October 11, 2018, 9:30am