BMW PGA Championship: Defending champion Francesco Molinari says Wentworth win sparked Open Championship & Ryder Cup success

Francesco Molinari celebrates with the trophy
Francesco Molinari celebrates with the trophy

Defending champion Francesco Molinari says his Wentworth win last year was the catalyst for his magical year that saw him win the Open and Ryder Cup.

Molinari's victory in the BMW PGA Championship last May was the start of a six tournament stretch which included a first PGA Tour title, two runners-up finishes and his maiden major title at Carnoustie.

However, after coming across a video of the closing stages of the final round recently, the Italian admits he had been "s******g himself" as he battled with playing partner Rory McIlroy at Wentworth.

Three ahead playing the par-five 18th, Molinari's third shot to the green almost span back into the water and his fourth left him facing five feet for par, with McIlroy 20 feet away for eagle.

Fortunately for Molinari, McIlroy left his putt inches short and Molinari held his nerve to hole out for par and a two-shot win.

"It was massive because I had been in a similar position to last year here without being able to close the tournament out," Molinari said.

"I was watching a video yesterday of the last few holes on Sunday and you could see I was uncomfortable in that position.

"It was a video that I think the European Tour media put on Twitter yesterday and I could see I was s******g myself.

"It's natural, if you've really not been in that position often enough, that's how you're going to feel the first time.

"I did very well to stay in front and to win the tournament and think I'm a better player and a stronger mental player than I was at the beginning of this tournament last year.

Check out Ben Coley's tips for the BMW PGA Championship
Check out Ben Coley's tips for the BMW PGA Championship

"I think that was the first step forward to getting more comfortable in leading a tournament and closing it out.

"The win in the States obviously helped even more and it was kind of a crescendo going into the Open, which gave me even more confidence going into the Ryder Cup."

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