FRANCESCO Molinari has clinched a thrilling win at the HSBC Champions Tournament whilst a Melbourne bound Tiger Woods impressed with a final round four under 68.
Molinari had a well deserved one stroke win after new world No.1 Lee Westwood (67) missed a lengthy eagle putt on the final hole.
The Italian closed with a bogey-free 67 to finish at 19 under 269 and led after every round at the Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai.
The two Europeans dominated with third placegetter Luke Donald leading the rest of the field 10 strokes behind.
“It wasn’t easy. I’m just really proud of the way I played, said the 28 year old (today) Molinari.
The second placing will get Englishman Westwood at least a second successive week on top of the world golf ranking.
Just days out from the 2010 JBWere Masters in Melbourne this week, many eyes were on the performance of the man he deposed, Tiger Woods.
Woods rattled off five back nine birdies and looked close to regaining some top form ahead of his defence of his Australian Masters title at the Victoria Golf Club.
“I hit the ball a lot better today,” Woods said after finishing equal sixth with six other players, including Australian Richard Green, a distant 12 shots behind Molinari. “I missed up 18 (with a three putt) but overall it was a very good day.”
Final round playing partner Green was impressed with what he saw from Woods, who is due to arrive in Melbourne on Tuesday after an exhibition in Thailand.
“Watching him up close, and listening to the way the ball comes off the clubface, is inspiring,” Green said.
“He’s definitely just waiting to click, get the right opportunities at the right time, a bit of momentum and off he’ll go.
“I didn’t notice anything different to how he used to hit the ball five or six years ago. It’s just a matter of getting in the groove again.”
Green’s sixth placing was the best of the Australians, with Robert Allenby (72) next on four under and T21, and Brendan Jones (68) and Adam Scott (70) another shot back.