"So from there I just started building my confidence and just saying I could get it done". When his imperious display at the Ryder Cup is also factored in, one wonders what Molinari might do for his next trick. "That would be the next logical step to win in America or win on the PGA Tour and then see where we go from there".
And he ended it with a charge that would have made Arnie proud, and with the putt that has become familiar.
So demanding was Bay Hill that it was the highest 54-hole score to lead this tournament since Ben Crenshaw was at 210 in 1993. Dustin Johnson, who returned to No. 1 this week, is not playing.
Third round co-leaders Tommy Fleetwood (76) and Keegan Bradley (75) stumbled out of contention after beginning the day with a four-stroke advantage.
"I had quite a long off season, but I was hoping to hit form around THE PLAYERS and things have gone even better than I thought". "It's easier to keep some sort of control when you're hitting the shots". But the greens are so pure, if you start putts on line they have a good chance to go in. McIlroy finished at eight under and tied for sixth, amazingly his worst finish of 2019.
A bogey at eight did little to slow his momentum as he added three more birdies on the inward nine, including a brilliant effort at the hard 18th, to take the outright lead as the final group made the turn.
"So, no, I'm happy with everything, I just think today I could have played the par 5s better, but really apart from that it was an unbelievable round from Francesco to shoot what he did". His 2018 campaign featured seven finishes inside the top-10 at events and a final FedExCup rank of 13. He's finished inside the top-10 eight times in his last 11 starts.
But there are plenty of others still in the mix. Between taking the lead in the driving range salute to his grandfather on Monday, and placing the red alpaca cardigan on to Molinari on Sunday, Saunders had to play golf.
"There's water around here, the greens are firm, the rough's thick", Fitzpatrick said.
M5 snow and ice warning in place until 10am
Cloud will increase from the south-west later today with rain arriving in parts of Munster and south Connacht towards evening. Met Office has issued four weather warnings for snow, ice and very strong winds across Co Armagh in the coming days.
"I probably played too safe", the young Englishman said. Certainly you can't expect him to rally to victory every time he is in the final group, but this was the fourth time in those nine events he has been within one of the lead and failed to win.
Molinari was of at least two minds when it came to his putt on 18.
Tommy Fleetwood, to his enormous credit after tumbling to a 76 on day three, improved by eight shots.
Kevin Kisner stayed put in third place (7 under) and was joined by Australian professional Aaron Baddeley and English pro Matt Wallace, who both shot rounds of 3-under 69.
He said his brother, Edoardo, has produced research questioning the value of leaving the flagstick in, and those findings mirror the research conducted for Golf Digest by Tom Mase, a professor of mechanical engineering at California Polytechnic State University. Hit a lot of greens.
Sunday offered another example at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where for the ninth time over the past 14 months McIlroy played well enough to earn a place in the final group, only to see someone else celebrating a victory.
He got off to a slow start in his title defense, however.
The 53-year-old MA player had an 11-under 131 total.