Italy's Molinari targets late 2013 form, Cup spot

Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:20pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Refreshed after a seven-week break and with just two tournaments under his belt this year, Francesco Molinari has his sights set on recapturing the encouraging form he displayed in late 2013 and a Ryder Cup spot.

Molinari has represented Europe in the last two editions of the biennial team competition against the United States, both times on winning teams, and he would dearly love the chance to compete in a third at Gleneagles in Scotland from September 26 to 28.

"It's a huge goal obviously," the 31-year-old Italian told Reuters. "Everyone wants to be there, and especially after you have played in one or two, you would love to go back.

"But it's a long way away and there's a lot of golf to be played before then. So it's in the back of my mind but I try not to think about it and try just to play some good golf and get some good results."

A three-times champion on the European Tour, Molinari has not tasted victory since the 2012 Reale Seguros Open de Espana, despite coming close several times.

He readily admits that his short game held him back in the early part of last year but he took great satisfaction from the way he finished up his 2013 campaign.

"Last year was all right," he said after tying for 40th in the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club on Sunday. "It wasn't my best year but it was a lot better toward the end of the season.

"It was a shame that I didn't win. I had a couple of chances at least during the season but I didn't manage to get a win so I am looking forward to doing better in 2014.   Continued...

Italy's Francesco Molinari tees off on the seventh hole during a practice round for the 2013 PGA Championship golf tournament at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York, August 5, 2013. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes