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Edoardo Molinari wins US Amateur Championship

Italy's Edoardo Molinari made a 25-foot birdie putt at the 33rd hole to beat American Dillon Dougherty 4 & 3 and win the U.S. Amateur Championship at Merion Golf Club on Sunday.

Molinari joined Charles ``Chick'' Evans (1916), Bobby Jones (1924, '30), Gary Cowan (1966) and Chris Patton (1989) as amateur champions at Merion, which hosted its 17th U.S. Golf Association championship.

The finalists earned an invitation next year to the Masters and the U.S. Open, and, as the winner, Molinari gets a return trip to the British Open, where he finished 60th this year at St. Andrews.

Molinari, a 24-year-old engineering student, faced a three-hole deficit after 18 holes, but struck quickly in the final round. He birdied three of the first five holes to even the match and took his first lead on the 25th hole, the 345-yard seventh, with a three-foot birdie putt.

He curled in a 35-foot birdie putt at the ninth to move to 2-up and extended his lead to 3-up at No. 11 with about a 40-footer.

After halving three straight holes, Molinari closed out the match on the 15th with a long birdie putt. He took a step toward the hole and, as the ball disappeared into the cup, unleashed a sweeping uppercut in celebration.

Dougherty, a senior from Northwestern who was cheered by his purple-clad teammates and coach, had a chance to extend the match, but missed a 20-foot birdie try on almost the same line as Molinari.

Molinari shook Dougherty's hand, and then turned and embraced his father, who had flown from Italy to follow his son in the final rounds.


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