Francesco Molinari explains topped tee shot at Pebble, as best he can

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LOS ANGELES – Officially, Francesco Molinari’s tee shot at the first hole on Saturday at Pebble Beach traveled just 70 yards. As for why the Italian got off to such a poor start, well, that’s golf.

“I don’t know. I think there’s many explanations and none, really,” he said with a laugh Wednesday at the Genesis Invitational. “Just a bad swing, bad conditions, probably not my favorite club in the bag and that happened.”

Molinari, who recently joined Riviera Country Club, explained that Saturday’s cold and damp conditions at Pebble Beach likely contributed to his miscue off the first tee and he also said he’d been tinkering with a new 3-wood all week and “went a bit too far with that.”

Molinari finished 59th out of 67 players who made the cut at Pebble Beach and there were more challenges than his effort at the first. The Italian’s regular caddie, Mark Fulcher, tested positive for COVID-19 and wasn’t able to work.

“It’s mentally a lot harder when you have to do pretty much everything yourself on the course and you don’t have the usual support from your caddie,” Molinari said. “Hopefully [Fulcher] can be back soon and we can get back to good results pretty soon.”