Francesco Molinari has vowed to learn from his Masters battle with Tiger Woods after missing out on a second major title at Augusta National.
Molinari took a two-shot lead into the final round and was still two ahead with seven holes to play, only to hit his tee shot on the daunting par-three 12th into Rae’s Creek to run up a double bogey.
The Open champion responded with a birdie at the next and was part of a five-way tie at the top of the leaderboard until he again found thewater with his approach to the par-five 15th to card another double bogey, eventually settling for a share of fifth place.
“The energy out there was brilliant with Tiger being there,” said Molinari, who also played alongside Woods in the final round at Carnoustie last year.
“I’m proud of the way I stayed calm, even after making mistakes. I gave it my best so I am proud of that.”
Molinari’s previous best result in the Masters was a tie for 19th but since finishing 20th last year the 36-year-old has embarked on an extraordinary run of form.
As well as becoming the first Italian to win a major championship, Molinari won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, his first PGA Tour title in the Quicken Loans National – a tournament hosted by Woods – and he became the first European to compile a perfect 5-0 record in the Ryder Cup.
Molinari, who also won the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in March, added: “I learnt a lot from today, from the whole week.
“Next year it won’t be a course where I have never played well before, I’ll have a few good rounds under my belt.
“I think on the back nine there were just a couple of instances of not being aggressive enough and I lost focus a little bit but it’s a long week and it’s not easy to hit every shot 100 per cent.”