Molinari wins Scottish Open by 3 shots
Italy's Edoardo Molinari shot a final-round 74 to win the Scottish Open by three strokes on Sunday and claim his first career victory on the European Tour.
Scoring was very high after a long spell of morning rain at Loch Lomond, and Molinari's 3-over-par final round was enough for a 12-under total of 272.
Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke had begun the round a shot behind Molinari, and his 5-over 76 was good enough to take second place, ahead of Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin, whose 68 took him to third.
''When we teed off in the wind and rain I felt I didn't have a chance because Darren is such a great player when it's tough like that,'' the 29-year-old Molinari said.
''But after making a birdie at the third I increased that lead and from then I played conservatively, concentrating on hitting fairways, and I am proud of the way I did it.''
The victory lifted Molinari into sixth place in the world ranking points table that will provide the first four members of this year's European Ryder Cup team. He is only 11 points behind Ian Poulter in the fourth qualifying spot, and there is now a real prospect of two brothers playing alongside each other in the Cup at Celtic Manor for the first time.
The younger Francesco Molinari, who was playing in the final group, faded from third place at the start of the day to finish fourth after a 1-over 72.
However, his $188,000 prize money lifted him into fifth place in the European qualifying table on the basis of money earned on the European Tour.
''To be able to make my Ryder Cup debut would be fantastic and to play alongside my brother would be even better,'' Edoardo Molinari said.
''He probably deserves a place more than me because he has been one of the most consistent players in Europe this year. But, as we showed in the World Cup, our games complement each other in foursomes and fourballs. We both drive well, Francesco is one of the best iron players in Europe, and I can putt.''
Clarke's challenge for his first victory in Europe in nearly two years faded soon after the start of the final round.
At the par-5 third hole, his sliced second shot ended up on the edge of a pond at the bottom of a steep slope by the green. His first two attempts to play up the slope ended with the ball rolling back to his feet.
As Clarke ran up a double-bogey 7, Molinari sank a five-foot birdie putt, and the gap between the two leaders expanded to four shots. It would never be completely closed.
Clarke's consolation was that in finishing second he claimed a late entry into the British Open, which starts Thursday at St. Andrews.
Further down the leaderboard, three players trailed Jacquelin by one stroke: Francesco Molinari, Scotland's Stephen Gallacher and Peter Hedblom of Sweden.