It was great to see some well-liked players who have suffered dips in form during recent seasons take steps in the right direction this week.
Edoardo Molinari claimed his first European Tour title for almost seven years when he pipped Ireland’s Paul Dunne at the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco on Sunday.
The popular Italian conjured a fantastic birdie-eagle finish to his final round to draw level with Dunne, who he beat at the first extra hole.
Molinari hadn’t looked like winning until then, but when you have won big events before, as he has, you never forget that and it helps you take advantage of chances like these.
Wrist problems have hindered his progress since his peak in 2010, when he won two European Tour titles, played in the Ryder Cup win at Celtic Manor and reached a career-high ranking of 14.
It would be a big call to say that Molinari will get back to that level but, at 36, this is a welcome improvement for a lovely bloke.
I felt sorry for Dunne, however, who is still seeking his first win on the tour. The 24-year-old can take a lot of confidence from the fact that nobody beat him outright.
Another man enjoying a lift was former world No1 Luke Donald, who did not win the RBC Heritage in South Carolina but enjoyed his best finish for months.
Donald lost out to rookie Wesley Bryan by one shot and had to settle for being runner-up at the same tournament for a fifth time in his career – an extraordinary record.
I’m not sure where it has gone wrong for Donald, who ended 2011 on top of the rankings after becoming the first player to win the money lists on both sides of the Atlantic in the same season.
He last won on either tour in 2012 and has shown little form since, but it is just nice to see him back.
Donald has always been very well liked and this result has given him a big bump up the world rankings from No94 to No69.
He is not far off the top 50, after which anything can happen.
Donald’s fellow Englishman Ian Poulter has also had his struggles and missed the chance to secure his PGA Tour card for the rest of the season with a poor final round, finishing tied for 11th.
Poulter has been playing on a medical exemption due to injuries, which creates extra pressure.
Some of that has been relieved, though, and he should get his card at the last opportunity if he makes the top 35 of the Texas Open this week.
From tricks to treat
It was great to see Bryan, meanwhile, who has had an unusual career path, win his first tour title at his home event.
The 27-year-old is in his maiden season on the PGA Tour, having previously found more success as a trick-shot merchant whose videos became internet sensations.
Short game work 😝🙌🏻🎯 pic.twitter.com/r8hyv3Dsb2— Bryan Bros Golf (@bryanbrosgolf) January 30, 2017
I’ve always wondered how trick-shot specialists could be so technically good without being top players, yet it feels like Bryan is the first to cross over.
It’s a fabulous story and it can only be good for the game.