Italian trio at the US Open: Francesco Molinari

The Italian golfing scene is celebrating once again as Francesco Molinari secures his spot in the upcoming US Open, marking the third consecutive Italian presence in the prestigious tournament.

by Andrea Gussoni
Italian trio at the US Open: Francesco Molinari
© Getty Images Sport - Hector Vivas / Stringer

The Italian golfing scene is celebrating once again as Francesco Molinari secures his spot in the upcoming US Open, marking the third consecutive Italian presence in the prestigious tournament. Following in the footsteps of Matteo Manassero and Edoardo Molinari, Francesco's qualification adds to the excitement surrounding the 124th edition of the event, scheduled from June 13th to 16th at Pinehurst in North Carolina.

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Hailing from Turin, Molinari clinched his ticket to the US Open in Dallas, Texas, finishing in fourth place with an impressive score of 138 (68 70, -4) strokes during the Final Qualifying round. The top spot was claimed by Colombian Nicola Echavarria with a score of 135 (67 68, -7).

With three Italians set to compete, including the current top-ranked Italian golfer, Matteo Manassero, this achievement underscores the growing prowess of Italian golf, particularly as the sport gears up for the Paris Olympics.

It's worth noting that Manassero, currently the highest-ranked Italian in the world rankings, hasn't participated in a Major since 2016, while Edoardo Molinari's last Major appearance dates back to 2021. The inaugural U.S.

Open took place on October 4, 1895, on a nine-hole course at the Newport Country Club in Newport, Rhode Island. The competition consisted of a total of 36 holes (four rounds of the course) and was played in a single day. Ten professionals and one amateur competed, with the victory going to one of the professionals, 21-year-old Englishman Horace Rawlins, who had arrived in the United States in January of the same year.

Rawlins received a prize of $150 and a gold medal valued at $50, along with the U.S. Open trophy, which he could keep for a year. In 1898, the tournament expanded to 72 holes and the duration was extended to two days. The early U.S.

Opens were dominated by skilled British golfers, including Scottish player Willie Anderson, who secured three consecutive victories between 1903 and 1905. In 1911, John McDermott became the first American to win the tournament, marking a shift towards American players becoming regular contenders for the championship.

Two years later, the qualification phase was introduced: the 32 players with the lowest scores after the two rounds on Tuesday and Wednesday advanced to the actual tournament, played over the following two days. The current format of 18 holes per day for four days was introduced in 1965.

From 1926 to 1964, the title was exclusively won by American players. To date, only six other nations have claimed the trophy, with South Africa winning it five times since 1965. For the first time since 1910, four non-Americans consecutively claimed the top spot on the podium from 2004 to 2007: South African Retief Goosen (2004), New Zealander Michael Campbell (2005), Australian Geoff Ogilvy (2006), and Argentine Ángel Cabrera (2007).

The first European to reclaim the title after Englishman Tony Jacklin (1970) was Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell in 2010. The tournament is played over 72 holes on classic courses of American golf tradition, which are made even more challenging for the occasion.

The typical winning score at the U.S. Open is around the course par. As of 2020, the courses that have hosted the most editions of the tournament include Oakmont Country Club (9 editions, last in 2016), Baltusrol Golf Club (7, last in 1993), Oakland Hills Country Club (6, last in 1996), Pebble Beach Golf Links (6, last in 2019), and Winged Foot Golf Club (6, last in 2020).

In case of a tie at the end of the 72 holes, a playoff determines the winner. Until 2018, the playoff, unlike other majors, was held on Monday over 18 holes: the player with the lowest score after this fifth round won the tournament.

If the tie persisted even after the 90 holes, sudden death ensued: the player who completed the 91st hole with a one-shot advantage over the opponent won the tournament. Sudden death was necessary on three occasions: in 1990, 1994, and 2008. Starting from the 2018 edition, the 18-hole playoff was abandoned in favor of a two-hole playoff.

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