Francesco Molinari strengthened his bid for a Ryder Cup return later this year after claiming a frst PGA Tour title with a stunning eight-shot success in the Quicken Loans National.
The Italian star signed off with an eight-under-par 62 for a 21-under-par 259 total, breaking the tournament record in Maryland by seven shots.
Tiger Woods closed with a 66, his lowest final round in more than five years, but, along with everyone else, the 14-time major winner was left trailing in Molinari’s wake.
On the upside as he starts preparing for the Open Championship in a fortnight’s time, Woods tied for fourth - his best result since a runner-up finish at the Valspar Championship three months ago.
Ryan Armour had a 68 to finish second, earning one of four spots up for grabs at Carnoustie, the others going to Sung Kang, Abraham Ancer and Bronson Burgoon.
It was Molinari’s second win of the year after the 35-year-old produced a similarly classy display to win the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth at the end of May.
That victory catapuled Molinari, who played on winning teams in both 2010 and 2012 at Celtic Manor and Medinah respectively, into Ryder Cup contention.
He admitted it had been a gamble to then decide to miss the French Open at Le Golf National, venue for September’s clash with the US, to play in a PGA Tour event instead.
“I came here obviously because I was right on the bubble in the FedEx Cup and I wanted to gain a better position, so I guess job done,” he said.
“It was (a big risk), but the risk on the other side was I was 123rd on the FedEx Cup. When you play two Tours, you need to balance the two things.
“It wasn’t an easy decision, I thought until the last minute whether to go to France or to come here but seems like it was the right choice in the end.”
Elsewhere, Sung Hyun Park beat So Yeon Ryu on the second hole of a play-off in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship for her second major title.
After a brief rain delay on the par-4 16th hole at Kemper Lakes inIllinois, Ryu’s birdie try rolled past and Park finished off her South Korean compatriot with a 10-footer.
Japanese teen Nasa Hataoka, after shooting an 8-under 64 to post at 10 under, dropped out of the play-off with a par on the par-4 18th, where Ryu and Park holed from 20 and 10 feet respectively for birdies.
In Colorado, David Toms made one long putt to take the lead, then another one to preserve it on his way to a one-shot victory in the he US Senior Open.
Toms, the 2001 US PGA champion, sank a 15-foot birdie on the par-3 16th hole at The Broadmoor to take the lead, then held on with a 20-foot downhill make after laying up from a fairway bunker on the 17th hole.
He saved par with a downhill knee-knocker from three feet on No 18 for a closing 70.
Finishing on three-under, Toms edged out Jerry Kelly (72), Miguel Angel Jimenez (69) and Tim Petrovic (70) by a shot.
Colin Montgomerie, the 2014 winner, dropped 27 spots on the final day after closing with an error-strewn 80.