The Sunday Post (Inverness)

Francesco Molinari is far too modest to say it,


but he deserves to be voted the BBC World Sports Star of 2018 as part of the Sports Personalit­y of the Year awards.

He’s up against gymnast Simone Biles, boxer Oleksandr Usyk and skier-snowboarde­r Ester Ledecka, who are all worthy candidates. But I’m certain none of them had a year as good as Francesco.

Look at his achievemen­ts. The Open Champion. The winner of the European Tour’s flagship event at Wentworth, the BMW PGA Championsh­ip. The Race to Dubai winner. The first Italian to win a PGA Tour event for 71 years.

And don’t forget becoming the first European to gain five points out of five as Europe won back the Ryder Cup. Stalwarts like Seve Ballestero­s, Colin Montgomeri­e and Ian Poulter never managed that.

In European terms, he couldn’t have had a better season. Francesco may not act like a superstar, but this year, his golf was like a gift from the gods.

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