Turin, Italy – Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano fired an 8- under 64 on Sunday to come from behind and capture the Italian Open for a second time.
Fernandez-Castano finished at 24-under 264 and bested third-round leader Garth Mulroy by two at Royal Park I Roveri. Mulroy shot a 5-under 67, but two late mistakes cost him a chance at a second European Tour title.
This was Fernandez-Castano's sixth win on tour and first since last season's Singapore Open. The Spaniard also claimed victory at this championship in 2007.
"I'm very proud the way I played today," Fernandez-Castano said on TV. "After last Sunday I was a little disappointed in the way I played at the Dutch Open (KLM Open)."
Fernandez-Castano was one of four third-round co-leaders last week, but a final-round 73 left him in a tie for fifth.
Matteo Manassero made a good showing on Sunday at his national championship. He and Gregory Bourdy both had 7-under 65s in the final round to share third at minus-20.
Two European Ryder Cuppers gained some momentum in their last appearances before the matches in two weeks. Martin Kaymer (67) and Nicolas Colsaerts (67) tied for fifth with Gary Boyd (63) and Pablo Larrazabal (69) at 18-under 270.
The tournament came down to the final pairing of Fernandez-Castano and Mulroy.
The two were tied at 23-under par when Mulroy pulled his second left at the 17th. He had an awkward stance and hit his third through the green. Mulroy's chip ran six feet by on the left side and he converted the putt for bogey.
Fernandez-Castano made a routine par and was one ahead with the par-5 18th left.
Fernandez-Castano missed the fairway right, but hit a great shot 50 feet left of the flagstick. It seemed like birdie was possible and Mulroy would need an eagle to force a playoff.
He drove into the fairway, but pulled his long iron into a greenside bunker. Mulroy would have to hole out to put any pressure on Fernandez-Castano. Mulroy's blast from the sand came up 30 feet short and the Spaniard could afford to 2-putt for the win. His eagle putt settled close, then Mulroy missed his long birdie effort and tapped in for par.
Fernandez-Castano stroked home his short birdie putt for the 2-shot victory.
"It was tough, but it was fun," Fernandez-Castano said in a televised interview. "We played both yesterday and today together. It seemed for a moment like match-play, not stroke-play. Garth is a great guy, great player and we had a great time playing together."
Fernandez-Castano started the final round a stroke behind Mulroy, but tied things quickly with a 6-foot birdie putt at the first. Fernandez-Castano parred the next six to fall one behind Mulroy.
Fernandez-Castano caught fire, starting with a great approach at seven. His 5- foot birdie try lipped out, but he birdied the par-5 eighth. Mulroy did as well to keep a 1-shot lead, although his edge was gone thanks to a Fernandez- Castano birdie at nine.
Both players birdied the 10th, then Fernandez-Castano took the lead with a 6- foot birdie putt at the 11th. Both made birdies at 13 and 14 to keep Fernandez-Castano up by one.
For Fernandez-Castano, that was six birdies in a 7-hole span. He was joined in first by Mulroy after the South African birdied No. 15.
After pars at 16, Mulroy hit the loose shot at 17 and when he couldn't put any pressure on Fernandez-Castano at the last, the title was the Spaniard's.
"The beginning wasn't very promising," admitted Fernandez-Castano. "After the eighth hole, everything started to go my way. It was really enjoyable."
NOTES: Fernandez-Castano pocketed 250,000 euros for the victory...Francesco Molinari was the only other European Ryder Cupper in the field and he had a 7- under 65 on Sunday to tie for 46th...The European Tour is off next week, then the European team defends the Ryder Cup at Medinah, starting Sept. 28.