Molinari with Donald in PGA Tour pairs show

In Avondale, USA, the PGA Tour's spotlight is on pairs with the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

by Andrea Gussoni
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Molinari with Donald in PGA Tour pairs show
© Getty Images Sport - Hector Vivas / Stringer

In Avondale, USA, the PGA Tour's spotlight is on pairs with the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. From tomorrow until Sunday, April 28th, in the state of Louisiana, 80 teams will compete in the 75th edition of the event, offering a purse of $8,900,000, with $1,602,000 going to the winners.

Zurich Classic, schedule

The tournament will unfold over 72 holes (18 per day) using a "fourball" format in the first and third rounds and "foursome" in the second and fourth rounds. For the seventh consecutive year, the tournament will be played in this format, with the all-American duo of Nick Hardy and Davis Riley defending their title after narrowly edging out Canadians Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor in 2023.

Many top contenders are vying for the trophy and the spotlight. Among the pre-tournament favorites are Xander Schauffele/Patrick Cantlay, Rory McIlroy/Shane Lowry, brothers Matt and Alex Fitzpatrick, twins Nicolai and Rasmus Hojgaard, and Californians Collin Morikawa/Kurt Kitayama.

There's also anticipation for Francesco Molinari and Luke Donald. Donald, the European team captain at the 2023 Ryder Cup in Rome and confirmed for the 2025 challenge at Bethpage (New York), played alongside Edoardo Molinari last year.

Now, he'll be partnered with Chicco Molinari, who served as one of the vice-captains for Team Europe at the Ryder Cup in Italy alongside his brother Edoardo (already reappointed for 2025). In 2006, Francesco Molinari clinched the Open d'Italia, becoming the first Italian to do so since Massimo Mannelli in 1980.

Then, in 2009, he and his brother Edoardo secured the Golf World Cup, marking the first time an Italian duo claimed the trophy. From October 1st to 4th, 2010, he and his brother Edoardo were part of the European team that triumphed in the Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort in Wales.

While not the first instance of siblings competing together in the event, it was their team's first victory. In November 2010, he won the HSBC Champions, his inaugural World Golf Championships title. Molinari topped the leaderboard throughout the tournament, edging out then-world number one Lee Westwood by a stroke.

This victory earned him €860,153 and the 14th spot in the World Golf Ranking. From September 28th to 30th, 2012, he was part of the European team that won the Ryder Cup at the Medinah Country Club near Chicago. His final-day draw against Tiger Woods secured Europe's 14.5 points, clinching the competition.

If Francesco had lost the match, the European team would have tied but retained the cup due to their previous victory. A century after its inaugural edition, Francesco won the Reale Seguros Open de España, rallying from fourth place on the last day with a 65 (-7), the best round of the tournament.

This victory made him the second Italian golfer in terms of European Tour wins, trailing Costantino Rocca by two victories. In 2016, he claimed his second Open d'Italia title. In 2018, he won the BMW PGA Championship, the most prestigious European Tour event, and finished second by a single stroke at the Open d'Italia the following week.

This result temporarily propelled him to the top of the Race to Dubai rankings. In July of the same year, he secured his first PGA Tour victory, becoming the first Italian since 1947 to triumph on the American circuit at the Quicken Loans National in Maryland.

On the 22nd of the same month, he was crowned champion of the Open Championship in Scotland at the Carnoustie Golf Links, becoming the first Italian golfer to win one of the four Major tournaments. On September 30th, 2018, at Le Golf National in Guyancourt, near Paris, he won his third Ryder Cup, contributing five points out of five matches played, a historic feat for a European golfer in the prestigious tournament. On March 10, 2019, he became the champion of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

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