Two years after his last victory, Francesco Molinari dreams of returning to success in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the PGA Tour golf tournament scheduled from tomorrow to Sunday (March 4-7) in Orlando. In Florida, where he won in 2019 thanks to a great comeback in the final lap, Chicco Molinari aims to return to the circle of winners.
In 2020 at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge, where in 7 appearances he collected one victory and three top 10, the Piedmontese for a back injury arrived at the last moment was unable to defend the title - canceling himself from the field - then won by the British Tyrrell Hatton who wore the famous "red cardigan" symbol of an event dedicated to the legend Arnold Palmer.
Francesco Molinari, situation
After three placings among the top ten in the first four appearances of 2021 (not since 2019) the blue is called to confirm his good form. And the circumstances also appear to be favorable. In Florida he will miss the whole Top 5 of the world ranking with Dustin Johnson (the king of men's golf), Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele who will not be in the game.
Among the big names, in addition to Hatton (sixth in the ranking) there are Rory McIlroy (eighth in the world and winner of the competition in 2018) and Patrick Reed (ninth). In the field there is also the Californian Bryson DeChambeau, a great protagonist in 2020 and among the disappointments of this first part of the season.
In Orlando also an opportunity for the Norwegian Viktor Hovland, runner up at the WGC-Concession (won by Morikawa) and now in second place in the FedEx Cup. The Arnold Palmer in 2020 was the last tournament completed before Covid's 3-month hiatus at the end of the first round of The Players Championship.
The competition will offer a prize pool of $ 9,300,000. After the WGC and the Puerto Rico Open (PGA Tour), the Top 3 of the world men's golf ranking remains unchanged. Despite the disappointing 54th place in the WGC, the American Dustin Johnson maintained the leadership with 12.1973 points.
Behind him, at a safe distance, is the Spaniard Jon Rahm, second with 8.9872, and the American Justin Thomas, always 3rd with 8.3288. With his first career success in a WGC, Collin Morikawa jumped from 6th to 4th position (8.1043).
Step back to Xander Schauffele, 5° with 7.3261, and Tyrrell Hatton, 6° with 6.6204. Patrick Cantlay (6.4662) and Rory McIlroy (6.4580) remained stable at 7th and 8th respectively. Patrick Reed is among the top 10, from 11° to 9° (6.4499).
He closes the Top 10 Webb Simpson (6.4495). With the exploit in the Puerto Rico Open the South African Branden Grace (1.5659) went from 147° to 83° position. While Francesco Molinari, who this week will return to the race in Florida at Arnold Palmer (4-7 March), an event of the PGA Tour won by the Italian in 2019, has slipped from 85° to 91° position (1.5375).