Wonders will never cease. A weekend in golf which wasn’t overshadowed by a rules rumpus. It’ll never catch on. Francesco Molinari illuminated the weekend’s action with the kind of mouth-watering display in the Arnold Palmer Invitational that sizzled like the bacon on the griddle in the greasy spoon …



Francesco Molinari produced a stunning final-round 64 to claim the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida.

The Italian began the day five shots behind fellow Europeans Matthew Fitzpatrick and Rory McIlroy, but the reigning Open champion charged up the leaderboard thanks to a rousing eight-under-par round and set the daunting clubhouse target of 12 under.

However, it proved to be too much for the chasing pack as Fitzpatrick finished two shots further back in outright second, while fellow Englishman and Ryder Cup star Tommy Fleetwood, who led at the halfway stage, and Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello were in a tie for third at nine under.

Speaking after the win, Molinari said: "I tried to be aggressive from the start and it was nice to see quite a lot of putts dropping... especially for my standards.

"I think it's been the best putting round ever in my career. And it's nice to do it, obviously in those circumstances, at Arnie's place.

"And I don't know, there must be something going on with that line (on 18), because it seems that a lot of guys winning the tournament make that putt."

Matt Wallace was one shot further adrift alongside McIlroy as European players dominated the final standings at Bay Hill.

An opening birdie got Molinari's charge under way before he registered another gain at the third when he dialled in his approach to seven feet to move to six under par.

He improved to seven under with a birdie at the sixth and reached the turn in 32 courtesy of a stunning chip in from the rough at the eighth.

Molinari's birdie trail continued at the 12th and 13th to move alongside Fitzpatrick at the top of the leaderboard. He got on the par-five 16th in two before two putts helped him take the outright lead at 11 under and he sealed his round with a monster 44-foot birdie putt at the last to extend his advantage as the anxious wait for victory began.

The Italian briefly moved into a three-shot lead when Fitzpatrick bogeyed at the 15th after finding a fairway bunker with his second shot to cancel out his birdie at the fourth, only to pick up a shot at the 16th and claim second place.



South Africa's Justin Harding is within sight of securing a Masters debut after claiming his first European Tour title in the Qatar Masters.

Harding birdied three of the last four holes in a closing 66 to finish 13 under par, two shots ahead of a nine-strong group which included compatriots George Coetzee, Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Erik Van Rooyen and England's Oliver Wilson.

Wilson, who began the day with a one-shot lead, carded a closing 71 at Doha Golf Club.

Harding, who won twice on the Asian Tour and twice on the Sunshine Tour in 2018, is projected to move just outside the world's top 50 when the rankings are updated on Monday. The top 50 on April 1 receive an invite to the year's first major at Augusta National.

"It was a really good day, hugely rewarding," Harding said. "I feel as though I've been putting in a lot of hard graft trying to improve my game to get to those next levels and to finally notch one on the European Tour is awesome.

"It means I get into the events I'd like to be into again. I'm looking forward to playing in some bigger events and keeping the form going."

Harding was three shots off the lead at the start of the day and although he birdied three of the first four holes, bogeys at the sixth and seventh looked to have derailed his title challenge.

However, the 33-year-old birdied the 10th, 12th, 15th, 17th and 18th in a back nine of 31 to post a clubhouse target that no-one was able to match.

"I think my biggest deficit coming from behind was one so to have to sit and wait around I didn't enjoy it, but I'm glad it happened," Harding told Sky Sports.

"I'll be honest, the bogey I made on 13 yesterday was key to me turning it around. I hit a terrible seven iron into the water there but to get it up and down still kept me in the game.

"I made a couple of birdies coming in and turned what was a bit of a struggle into a one over par (round) and was only three shots back going into today. That was huge."



England's Meghan MacLaren has claimed back-to-back titles in the Women's New South Wales Open with a three-stroke victory at Queanbeyan Golf Club.

The 24-year-old, from Northamptonshire, went into day four tied at the top of the leaderboard with Lynn Carlsson before carding a closing 69 to finish 12 under par.

MacLaren faced a tough test against New Zealand's Munchin Keh, who eagled the par-five 16th to grab a two-shot lead.

In reply, MacLaren holed a one-metre putt for eagle to grab a share of the lead and had the trophy in sight when Keh double-bogeyed the last.

Holding a two-shot lead with one to play, MacLaren held her nerve for her third birdie putt of the day and with it clinched her second successive title.

Co-overnight leader Carlsson carded a 72 to finish in third place on nine under par, while England's Felicity Johnson shot a 69 to leave her three shots further back in fifth.



Attempting to get a little dimpled ba’ into a wee hole can often be the kind of infuriatingly footery task that’s akin to trying to change one of those flush-mounted halogen bulbs in a kitchen ceiling.

Spare a thought then for Jeff Maggert who endured a pitiful putting fiasco on Champions Tour duty at the weekend. Listen hard enough and you can almost hear the ball laughing at him …