Scottish Open joy was Edoardo Molinari's most special

IT'S a close call, but Edoardo Molinari reckons his Barclays Scottish Open win 12 months ago just shaded the Johnnie Walker Championship victory that saw the Italian complete a dream double in the home of golf last year.

"I think Loch Lomond was probably the more special because it was my first big win - the turning point in my career. It was probably a bigger event than Gleneagles with a better field and you obviously remember the first win more vividly," he said.

It also gave him the confidence to go on to clinch a Ryder Cup place by winning in Perthshire a few weeks later to secure one of Colin Montgomerie's wild cards for the match in Wales.

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"I was almost a man on a mission at Gleneagles and there was a lot more pressure there," he added. "As a result of that, I was probably happier after that win because of the Ryder Cup."

What made the Scottish Open success even sweeter for Molinari was that he played with his older brother, Francesco, in the final round.

"That was very special. I think it was a help because I had someone to talk to any time I wanted to. We have a great relationship and every time we play together it's always good fun," said the man from Turin.

For the first of his two title defences, Molinari has found himself in the Highlands instead of back at Loch Lomond, where he won by three shots from Darren Clarke.

"I would love to go back to Loch Lomond one day, whether it's this year or next year, and play 18 (holes] with my family or friends," he declared. "It would be nice to relive my last memories of the last few holes on the Sunday and the prize-giving."

Molinari has been making plenty of cuts this season without managing to make his presence felt at the top of leaderboards.

"I haven't played great so far this year, having a good finish (11th] at The Masters and another top ten," he reflected. "It's just a matter of being patient and starting to hole a few putts."

Like most others in this week's field, Molinari likes what he sees at Castle Stuart and is confident the event will attract even stronger fields in years to come.

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"It is one of the best links courses we have ever played," declared the 30-year-old. "It is similar to Kingsbarns, but is a better course than Kingsbarns and more fair.

"It's a great thing that the Scottish Open is on a links course the week before The Open. It is the perfect preparation for that."

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