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Late birdie string lifts Edoardo Molinari to victory in Scotland

CBSSports.com wire reports

GLENEAGLES, Scotland -- Edoardo Molinari birdied the final three holes at Gleneagles on Sunday to win the Johnnie Walker Championship and secure a place in Europe's Ryder Cup time.

The 29-year-old Italian received a wild card pick from European captain Colin Montgomerie later in the day.

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"I was under a lot of pressure out there because I did not know if second place was going to be good enough to impress Colin Montgomerie with the wild card situation," Molinari said. "So the win was very important to me."

Molinari shot a 1-under 71 to reach 10-under 278 and beat Brett Rumford by one shot. The Australian had earlier shot a 3-under 69 and held a two shot lead when Molinari stood on the 16th tee.

Overnight leader Francesco Molinari -- Eduardo's younger brother -- shot 75 to share third place with Wales' Jamie Donaldson and Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain.

Jimenez secured automatic qualification for the Ryder Cup, as did Peter Hanson of Sweden who was tied for 19th.

"My caddy told me on the 16th tee that with a couple of birdies I could still win and I feel fantastic to have been able to do that," said Molinari, who drew level with Rumford with putts from 5 feet and 40 fee on the 16th and 17th.

Rumford had not expected to be in contention for his third European victory but two closing birdies saw him shoot a 70.

"It was never going to be a day of low scoring," Rumford said. "The wind was very strong out on the course and very difficult to read."

The decision by Jimenez to seek a late entry to play at Gleneagles rather than attend his nephew's wedding in Malaga paid off.

He started the tournament in the ninth and last automatic qualifying place to play at Celtic Manor. A level 72, which saw him at 7-under, earned a share of third and his fourth match against the Americans.

"It means a lot to me," the 46-year-old Jimenez said. "It means more as you get older and now to be playing alongside the likes of Martin Kaymer and Rory McIlroy will mean I am playing with a third generation.

"My nephew and my family understood about the wedding - they told me I had to what I had to do, and thats what I did."

On a day of high winds and high scoring, Hanson also secured his Ryder Cup debut with a 73 and a 2-under finish.

Hanson, who climbed into the top nine automatic spots by winning the Czech Open, said:

"I was very tired coming here to Scotland and I have been battling not to think about making the team," Hanson said. "But now I am going to celebrate."

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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