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Molinari seals first European Tour victory

Italian Edoardo Molinari seals his first European Tour victory at the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond.
Italian Edoardo Molinari seals his first European Tour victory at the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Edoardo Molinari seals victory at the Scottish Open with final round 74
  • Italian finished three shots clear of Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke on 12-under par
  • Victory is Molinari's first on the European Tour
  • Clarke finishes second to secure place at next week's British Open at St Andrews
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(CNN) -- Edoardo Molinari has won the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond to claim the first European Tour title of his career.

The 29-year-old Italian saw off Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke by three shots closing with a three-over par round of 74 to finish on 12-under par.

There was some consolation for Clarke though as his second place secured his berth at the British Open which starts at St Andrews on Thursday.

Despite an uncertain start, which saw him drop two shots in the outward nine, Molinari looked to have settled any nerves with a birdie at the par four 14th hole.

But he followed it with a double-bogey at the next hole when he sprayed his tee shot into the right-hand rough and had to take a penalty drop.

The error cut his lead over Clarke from five to three.

And despite a Clarke birdie at the 17th hole, which reduced the deficit to two strokes, Molinari's nerve remained steady as he came home without alarm in even par to clinch the title.

Clarke's challenge for his first title since winning the Dutch Open in 2008 faded early on in the final round as the Ulsterman contrived to make a double-bogey seven at the par five third hole.

This compounded his problems after he had made bogey at the second hole. Further dropped shots at the fifth and 11th holes resigned the 41-year-old to a battle to hang onto second place.

Clarke came home in one-over par to card a disappointing round of 76 to leave him nine-under par for the championship, one ahead of Raphael Jacquelin whose fourth round 68 completed a consistent week for the Frenchman.

Scotland's Stephen Gallacher, Sweden's Peter Hedblom and Molinari's younger brother Francesco finished in a tie for fourth place on seven-under par.

Molinari junior, who lost in a play-off to Miguel Angel Jimenez at the French Open last weekend, had a chance to tie for third place at the last but missed his short putt.