Giulia Molinaro (@GMolinaroGolf) earned her first Symetra Tour victory in commanding fashion as she fired a final-round 7-under 65 to win the inaugural Friends of Mission Charity Classic.
Despite never being in contention at a professional event prior to Sunday, Molinaro recorded nine birdies and two bogeys to become the first rookie to win on the Symetra Tour in 2013.
“I had an amazing day,” said Molinaro after her win. “As a third day I’ve never been in contention for a professional tournament like this and the first day I was I won it so I’m in seventh heaven right now. I played amazing, I’m extremely happy, everything went my way. I mean, I saw putts that were going in and everything went great.”
Molinaro entered Sunday’s final round tied atop the leaderboard with former Arizona State University teammate Jaclyn Sweeney but the rookie, who needed only 25 putts during her final round, wasted little time getting into the red numbers with back-to-back birdies at the par-4 first and par-5 second.
Molinaro gave one back with a bogey at the par-3 third but continued to rely on advice she received from her coach Sunday morning to recover with two additional birdies on her opening nine at the seventh and ninth.
“I woke-up early because I didn’t know what my tee-time was and that always bothers me,” said Molinaro. “I called my coach and I asked him what to do and he said just do what you’ve been doing and give yourself as many birdie opportunities as you can, and I did. It worked out and my putting was great and once my putting goes then everything turns out to be easier.”
The Italian showed no signs of slowing down during the final round as she extended her lead with three consecutive birdies beginning at the par-4 10th. The Arizona State University graduate continued rolling in birdies on her final nine with a birdie at the par-4 14th before dropping a shot at the par-5 16th.
Molinaro immediately responded and birdied the par-3 17th before a par on the final hole for the win Despite growing-up in Kenya and calling Treviso, Italy home, Molinaro admitted to feeling right at home in Asheville, N.C.
“I really like the course, I really like the whole atmosphere, all the trees, everything and I live in Phoenix so that’s a big change,” said Molinaro. “I really like whole city and the whole feel over everything. The experience has been great.”
Molinaro’s impressive 13-under three-day total earned her a 5-stroke victory over third-year Symetra Tour member, Macarena Silva.
Silva suffered a car accident last year and due to a slow recovery, has only played in two Symetra Tour events this year. Silva finished T17 at last week’s Symetra Classic then on Monday, qualified for the prestigious U.S. Women’s Open.
“It’s great,” said Silva of her tied for second finish this week. “I qualified for the U.S. Open on Monday so it’s just been three tournaments really well. I didn’t play because I got in a car wreck at the end of last year so it took me a little longer but it’s been great. I’m really looking forward to the entire season now.”
During Sunday’s final round of the Friends of Mission Charity Classic, Silva recorded three birdies and an eagle on the par-5 11th to fire a 5-under-par 67.
“I was hitting the ball really well and was able to make some birdies and made an eagle on 11 so that felt pretty good,” said Silva. “I don’t know, it was a long day just being patient.”