Molinari, Finau Commit to Travelers Championship

Francesco Molinari, the reigning British Open Champion, and Tony Finau, the long-hitting No. 11 ranked player in the world, committed to the $7.2 million Travelers Championship June 20-23 at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell.

HARTFORD, Conn. – Reigning British Open champion Francesco Molinari and long-hitting Tony Finau committed to the $7.2 million Travelers Championship scheduled June 20-23 at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell.

Molinari, ranked 10th in the world, and Finau (No. 11) join No. 2 Brooks Koepka, No. 4 Justin Thomas and No. 5 Bryson DeChambeau. In 2018, Koepka won the U.S. Open for the second consecutive year and then the PGA Championship, so three of the four current major championship titlists have already committed to Connecticut’s biggest sporting event.

“It’s exciting to announce this many players this early in the year,” tournament chairman Nathan Grube said. “Adding Francesco and Tony not only gives us two more elite players; it also adds two more PGA Tour winners and two players who were in the Ryder Cup last year. We couldn’t be happier with the way our field is developing.”

Molinari became the first Italian to win a major when he captured the 2018 British Open. That came three weeks after his first PGA Tour victory at the Quicken Loans National. He then made history in the Ryder Cup, teaming with Tommy Fleetwood to sweep their four partners matches and then beat Phil Mickelson in singles to cap the first 5-0 week by a European player. Molinari, who also won the European Tour’s season-long Race to Dubai in 2018, played in the Travelers Championship in 2015 and 2016.

Finau joined the PGA Tour in 2015 and won his first Tour event a year later in the Puerto Rico Open. A 29-year-old from Utah, Finau already has a runner-up finish on the PGA Tour this season at the HSBC Champions. In 2018, he represented the United States in the Ryder Cup and finished in the top 10 in three of the four major championships. He tied for 10th in the Masters, finished fifth at the U.S. Open and shared ninth in the British Open. Finau has played in the Travelers Championship three times, with his best finish a tie for 17th in 2017.

“Each year, we strive to improve the tournament in every aspect. We owe it to our fans, sponsors and most importantly, the charitable organizations that benefit from the Travelers Championship,” said Andy Bessette, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer at Travelers. “The addition of these two players is another step in ensuring that this year’s tournament is world-class.”

The tournament was been just that almost since Travelers first became the title sponsor in 2007. It has won numerous PGA Tour awards the past few years, including Tournament of the Year in 2017 and the first two Players Choice Awards in 2017 and 2018.

Worked as sports writer for The Hartford Courant for 38 years before retiring in 2008. His major beats at the paper were golf, the Hartford Whalers, University of Connecticut men’s and women’s basketball, Yale football, United States and World Figure Skating Championships and ski columnist. He has covered every PGA Tour stop in Connecticut since 1971, along with 30 Masters, 25 U.S. Opens, four PGA Championships, 12 Deutsche Bank Championships, 15 Westchester (N.Y.) Classics and four Ryder Cups. He has won several Golf Writers Association of America writing awards, including a first place for a feature on John Daly, and was elected to the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame in 2009. He also worked for the Connecticut Whale hockey team for two years when they were renamed by former Hartford Whalers managing general partner Howard Baldwin, who had become the marketing director of the Hartford Wolf Pack, the top affiliate of the New York Rangers.

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