Francesco Molinari has vowed to learn from his Masters battle with Tiger Woods after missing out on a second major title at Augusta National.
Molinari took a two-shot lead into the final round and was still two ahead with seven holes to play, only to hit his tee shot on the daunting par-three 12th into Rae’s Creek to run up a double bogey.
The Open champion responded with a birdie at the next and was part of a five-way tie at the top of the leaderboard until he again found thewater with his approach to the par-five 15th to card another double bogey, eventually settling for a share of fifth place.
“The energy out there was brilliant with Tiger being there,” said Molinari, who also played alongside Woods in the final round at Carnoustie last year.
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“I’m proud of the way I stayed calm, even after making mistakes. I gave it my best so I am proud of that.”
Molinari’s previous best result in the Masters was a tie for 19th but since finishing 20th last year the 36-year-old has embarked on an extraordinary run of form.
As well as becoming the first Italian to win a major championship, Molinari won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, his first PGA Tour title in the Quicken Loans National – a tournament hosted by Woods – and he became the first European to compile a perfect 5-0 record in the Ryder Cup.
Molinari, who also won the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in March, added: “I learnt a lot from today, from the whole week.
“Next year it won’t be a course where I have never played well before, I’ll have a few good rounds under my belt.
“I think on the back nine there were just a couple of instances of not being aggressive enough and I lost focus a little bit but it’s a long week and it’s not easy to hit every shot 100 per cent.”