Monday, September 20, 2010

Brothers in arms in Portugal

Edoardo and Francesco Molinari, the first brothers to represent Europe in The Ryder Cup, have both confirmed their participation in the €3 million Portugal Masters at Oceanico Victoria Golf Course in the Algarve from October 14-17. Edoardo, 29, and Francesco, who will be 28 next month, have captured the imagination of the golfing world this year by gaining admittance into that most elusive of clubs – Ryder Cup Team Members – after a series of superb performances on The European Tour. In fact, it was Francesco’s runner-up finish at Oceanico victoria Golf Club last October, and the accompanying €333,330 prize, which propelled him on his way to one of the automatic qualifying places in Colin Montgomerie’s Team heading for Wales next week.
Only the last-day brilliance of England’s Lee Westwood halted Molinari in his tracks, after he had led for the first two days and went into the final round just one shot behind South African Retief Goosen. Westwood closed with a 66 to Molinari’s 70 to win by two strokes. Francesco, who has played in all three previous editions of the Portugal Masters, said: “I am looking forward to getting back to Portugal. Last year was a really good week for me and was probably the closest I have been to the second win of my career. “It was exciting going head to head with Lee Westwood over a great golf course. It is one of those courses that there are a lot of ways to play and I think it is a course that will always end up with a very good winner for the tournament.” “It is a great time of the year to go to Portugal because the weather is usually perfect and everything about the place is really good – the hotel, the food and the area are amazing and it is a very nice change from the Dunhill Links the week before because we usually spend the week there in jumpers, jackets and woollen hats! The Portugal Masters is one of the best weeks on Tour. “ Edoardo, one of Montgomerie’s wild cards for The Celtic Manor Resort showdown with the United States next week, endorsed his younger sibling’s views on the course and event, which he played in 2008.“Unfortunately I missed the cut, but I am very much looking forward to returning to Oceanico Victoria Golf Club this time with – hopefully – a much better chance of winning. I have improved quite a lot since I last played there.” He added: “I remember watching the final round on TV back in Italy and hoping that Francesco could pull off a big win, but on the day Lee just happened to play some great golf to pip him. Hopefully we will both be in contention this time around!”

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