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McDowell records best finish since 2016 as Olesen holds his nerve to win Italian Open

There was a thrilling finish in northern Italy this afternoon, as Olesen held off home favourite Francesco Molinari.

McDowell carded eight birdies on Sunday.
McDowell carded eight birdies on Sunday.
Image: Andrew Redington

GRAEME MCDOWELL COMPLETED a positive week with a seven-under par round of 64 to record his best finish since October 2016 at the Italian Open, which was won by Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen.

McDowell’s slide in form has been well-documented in recent years but the Northern Irishman enjoyed a largely consistent week to eventually finish in a tie for fifth alongside English pair Lee Westwood and Andy Sullivan.

It’s McDowell’s highest finish on either tour since his tie for fourth at the British Masters two years ago, with this week’s performance earning him €214,882.

McDowell was five shots off the eventual leader Olesen, who held his nerve to claim a thrilling one-shot win over two-time champion and home favourite Francesco Molinari.

Olesen, playing alongside overnight leader Lee Slattery of England, hit seven birdies in a seven-under-par round of 64 at the Gardagolf Country Club in northern Italy for his fifth European Tour title.

The 28-year-old Dane, one stroke behind Slattery after the third round, finished on 22-under for his first title since the Turkish Open in November 2016.

Molinari, chasing a third Italian Open after 2006 and 2016 a week after winning in the PGA Championship at Wentworth, finished second after a damaging bogey on the 17th hole in a final round 65.

Italian Open - Day Four Olesen celebrates victory. Source: Andrew Redington

Olesen needed a par at the final hole after Molinari sent the crowd wild with his seventh birdie of the day from 30 feet on the 18th.

The Dane looked in trouble when he pulled his drive a long way left but he held firm to complete a final round 64.

Slattery carded 67 to finish third on 20-under after a mixed round which included an eagle on the 15th, four birdies and two bogeys.

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Ryan Bailey

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