Francesco Molinari admits that chasing down Rory McIlroy won’t be easy over the next couple of days but he’s determined to give it his best shot.
The Italian is in a congested group of players clinging on to the Northern Irishman’s coattails as the 2014 Open Championship reaches the halfway stage.
At 11-under-par, McIlroy is five shots clear of the pack and in a great position to close out his third major victory. However, Molinari has designs on denying the former world No.1 and, instead, deliver Italy its first-ever major winner.
“He’s obviously very good,” acknowledged Molinari, 31. “It won’t be easy trying to catch him up but we’re here to try and we’ll do that on the weekend.”
High on confidence after some good work earlier in the week with his coach Denis Pugh, Molinari insists that he has what it takes to make the transition from contender to winner on golf’s biggest stage.
“I’ve been hitting the ball well and putting well, so it’s just about trying to stay in the moment and do my best,” said the three-time European Tour winner. “Obviously, it’s not always easy in a major but I’ve been doing it pretty well so far.
"We’re always a little bit spurred on to play better and to beat one another." - Edoardo Molinari
“I felt that my short game was in good shape when I got here but my long game wasn’t quite there. I did some work with my coach on Tuesday and Wednesday and it seemed to pretty much click. At the moment, I think it’s in good shape.”
Francesco’s older brother Edoardo is also in the mix at Royal Liverpool. He’s currently sitting on three-under after backing up his first round 68 with a one-over 73 on day two.
“Overall, I’m very pleased with the day,” said the 33-year-old former US Amateur champion. “It was a difficult start. I found it difficult to make birdie. I was hitting good shots that never ended up by the flag and I hit a lot of good putts that didn’t go in. But then I got my reward on the back nine with a nice stretch on 12, 13 and 14. Unfortunately, I bogeyed the last but, all in all, it’s a good day.”
The elder Molinari admitted that seeing his little brother’s name on the leaderboard had given him impetus to put a good score together.
“I think it helped both of us,” he said. “We’re always a little bit spurred on to play better and to beat one another.”
Francesco and Edoardo Molinari :: Golf's band of brothers
Did you know that Francesco and Edoardo Molinari teamed-up to win the World Cup of Golf in 2009, the first brothers to do so.