Molinari claims Seville win
Francesco Molinari finally returned to winning ways on Sunday - and did it with one of the finest rounds of his career.
The Italian Ryder Cup star produced a best-of-the-week 65, seven under par, to turn a four-stroke deficit into a three-shot win at the Spanish Open in Seville.
Molinari was ranked 14th in the world when he beat Lee Westwood at the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai nearly 18 months ago, but this was his first success since then.
While he celebrated his third European Tour victory, however, overnight leader Simon Dyson was left to reflect on a 76 that dealt a big blow to his hopes of a Ryder Cup debut in September.
Nobody in the top 50 scored worse on the final day, Dyson falling all the way to joint 12th - and that after starting with two birdies.
Dane Soren Kjeldsen and Spaniards Alejandro Canizares and Pablo Larrazabal finished joint second, but Molinari out-played them all to take the first prize of more than £271,000.
What made it all the more special for him was that the tournament was first staged 100 years ago and came just before the first anniversary of three-time winner Seve Ballesteros' death.
"I knew I was playing well. I just needed some putts to drop," said the 29-year-old, who moves back into the world's top 30 as he heads back across the Atlantic for this week's Players Championship.
"I was also hoping the other guys would not go too far under par and everything worked out perfectly."
He is still not in a qualifying position for this year's Ryder Cup, but added: "I just have to play the same golf a few more weeks and hopefully I will be there.
"Everybody is desperate to make the team, but unfortunately for us there are only 12 spots.
"It's going to be hard - there are a lot of great players in Europe at the moment."
In much easier conditions - the first three rounds were played in wind and rain - Dyson made quick amends for his closing double bogey on Saturday by sinking an 18-foot putt on the first and then holing out from sand at the next.
But it all started to go wrong for the York golfer again when he ran up a six at the long fifth and further bogeys came on the seventh, eighth, 13th, 15th and 17th.
In contrast Molinari birdied three of the first five, then took the outright
lead by two-putting the 545-yard ninth to complete an outward 32.
He picked up another shot from 10 feet at the 10th, almost holed for eagle from over 50 feet on the 13th and converted a 15-foot chance on the next.
"The first leaderboard I saw where I was leading was on 12, but they had a few more birdie chances than me and so I knew I needed a couple more.''
It was comfortable in the end, though. Kjeldsen, winner of the Andalucian Open on the course in 2009, mixed three birdies with three bogeys on the back nine, while Larrazabal and the fast-finishing Canizares were too far back.
All week the overnight leaders appeared cursed. Shaun Micheel followed his opening 67 with a 77, then Gregory Bourdy went from 66 to 80.
Dyson's score was not as bad as those, but it probably felt worse.