Italy's Giulia Molinaro finishes 3rd in LPGA Championship
Italian golfer Giulia Molinaro finished tied for 3rd with Kim Hyo-joo at -10 to take her first Top 5 of the year. Guilia finished Round 4 with Par after finishing -2 on the Front 9, and +2 on the Back 9. She hit 9 out of 14 fairways, averaged 257 yards on drives, averaged 31 putts per round, hit 12 greens in regulation, and had 1 sand save out of 1. She finished Rounds 1 and 2 with -2 on each round, leaving her at -4 and in 10th, heading into Round 3. She broke out in Round 3 with a whopping -6 to get her to -10 heading into the final round tied for 3rd. Nelly Korda won the LPGA Championship, though, with -19, and Lizette Salas came in 2nd with -16.
The LPGA Championship was held at Atlanta Athletic Club Highlands Course in Johns Creek, Georgia which is at an elevation 928 feet. The town's weather was hot and sunny during the tournament which allowed for little interruption to play. The Highlands Course is a Par 72, 7,613 yard course with a rating/slope of 77.4/152 for Championship play. The Atlanta Athletic Club hosted the 2011 PGA Championship where world class golfer Keegan Bradley won his first major. The Club has also hosted many other PGA and LPGA events including majors and amatuer championships.
Molinaro grew up in Kenya, started golfing at 12 and made it to the Italian team in 2006 at the age of 16 to play in the Junior Ryder Cup. She went to Arizona State, and was apart of the spectacular and historic golf program. As a Senior in 2012, she won PAC 12 Player of the Year, was on the PAC 12 First Team, and was a First Team All-American. She joined the Symetra Tour before deciding to join the LPGA Tour in 2014. She had a rough go, so she went back down to the Symetra Tour, and commanded her spot there with 9 Top 10 finishes. She then rejoined the LPGA Tour in 2016, and has gotten better and better throughout the years. She has had her best finishes at Majors in her career happen this year which means it is likely that she could be close to an LPGA or Major win.
As an Amatuer, Giulia won the 2007 Girls Junior Orange Bowl, the 2011 Dale McNamara Invitational and the 2012 Swiss International Amatuer. Guilia has one Pro win, which came in the Symetra Tour in 2013, when she won the 2013 Friends of Mission Charity Classic. She represented Europe in the 2006 Ryder Cup and has represented Italy ever since. She qualified for the Olympics in 2016 for Italy, where she tied for 53rd, and has quickly become the face of Italian Women's golf.
Giulia's has been doubted by some analysts about her game in the LPGA, but this podium should show that she means business. She is starting to break out in the LPGA and could be a Major Champion or LPGA Tour Champion soon. She is going to have to keep working, though, as the LPGA field gets tougher and tougher every week with rising stars like Leona Maguire, LPGA Championship winner Nelly Korda, Brooke Henderson and Lydia Ko getting better and better and making the field more clutch than ever. It seems like there's a new winner every week, whether it be a storied veteran, or rising star. Golf is becoming a very very very competetive sport in all tours, as more and more new and good players join every week. Golf's inclusivity is what makes it fun to watch, as a man or lady from nothing could become the next PGA or LPGA Champion. Names like Garrick Higgo, Brad Reeves, Yuki Moriyama, and Ryggs Johnston are names of some of the future of the PGA Tour.
Think of a Pro golfer as a bird. A bird who has just started growing in an egg, and eventually grows so big that it breaks the egg. That stint in the egg is their time before they breakout and start getting great finishes. Some eggs hatch early, some late, but some never hatch. How long the lifetime is is up to the bird. Tiger Woods broke out of his egg early, and has been able to prolong his life in golf by overcoming injuries that kept him from flying. He is now fighting an injury that has held him down well, but I believe he will be able to fly again. In my eyes, Giulia is just breaking the egg and is learning how to fly without anything holding her back.
Good luck Giulia! Get Well Tiger!