Molinari relishing Race to Dubai title defence

The Italian champion is set to make his long-awaited return to action in Mexico this week

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Francesco Molinari is looking forward to getting his season up and running as he prepares to launch the defence of his Race to Dubai title at this week’s WGC-Mexico Championship.

“I’m feeling great. Obviously it’s different to show up as the Race to Dubai champion. I’ll try to put up a good defence of that title and I’m looking forward to the season.”

The Italian enjoyed a dream 2018 campaign, winning The 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links before becoming the first European to win five points out of five as Europe won The Ryder Cup at Le Golf National.

“I know it’s not going to be easy to repeat but it’s a long season and I’m glad to finally get started and hopefully get off to a strong start here in Mexico.”

He also secured his maiden Rolex Series title at the BMW PGA Championship and now the 36 year old is set to make his long-awaited return to action in Mexico this week, hoping to kick off his 2019 campaign in style.

“I think the only way to follow up last year is to try and follow up with some of my own improvements, try not to get too outcome-focused.

“We all know in golf there are a lot of good players and the margins are very small, so I might play as well as last year and not win any tournaments.

“I need to be aware of that. I need to measure myself not so much on the wins but on how I feel on the course, how I play – and that’s going to be the goal for the season, to try and improve what I feel like I can still improve and maintain what I was doing well last year.”

Meanwhile Eddie Pepperell is looking forward to taking part in a tournament that he enjoyed watching last year when he makes his World Golf Championships debut this week in Mexico City.

“It’s a great course. It’s really tight in places. It’s funky but it’s fun, there’s a lot going on, so I’m looking forward to being part of it.

“I remember watching this event last year and I think it was the most fun event to watch on the whole of the calendar. When Justin Thomas holed that shot into the last, I thought it was just such a great moment.

“If you hit the ball quite straight, it’s hard to see how you’re going to get in trouble. You’re not going to hit many drivers. There’s a lot of fun little tee shots.”

The Englishman has risen to 40th in the Official World Golf Ranking after a stellar 2018 Race to Dubai season which saw him win the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and the Sky Sports British Masters.

And that has seen him go from being an interested viewer this time last year, to a member of the world-class field assembled at Chapultepec Golf Club for the first WGC event of the year, and the 28 year old insists he is only focusing on his technique rather than setting himself any goals for the season.

“I’m trying to stay very focused on my technique. I think that keeps me in a good spot really. It stops me from getting too frustrated with results.

“I’m pretty focused on the technique – that’s really all I care about. When that’s good then I seem to play really good and when that’s not good, I seem to play really badly, so that tells me just try and get it right.”

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