Francesco Molinari became the first Italian player to win a major title after one of the most dramatic final rounds in Open Championship history.
Molinari carded a nerveless closing 69 at a windswept Carnoustie to finish eight under par, two shots clear of Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele.
Playing alongside a rejuvenated Tiger Woods, Molinari followed 13 straight pars with a birdie on the 14th and finished a brilliant round in fitting style with another from just three feet on the 18th.
“I’m lost for words really,” said Molinari, who has now won three times in his last six starts. “It’s incredible to do something like this and I’m very proud of what I’ve done.”
Well, fantastic two weeks up here in Scotland. 30 mins from Tebay and the finest Roast Dinner on the motorway. See you all somewhere down the road. 👍🍷— Eddie Pepperell (@PepperellEddie) July 22, 2018
Eddie Pepperell held the early clubhouse lead after a closing 67, but had a phlegmatic approach when his chances of Open glory were finally ended.
That Molinari approach on 18 though 👀 pic.twitter.com/4QUBhrCdtq— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) July 22, 2018
Francesco Molinari was tied for the lead with Schauffele before hitting a brilliant approach to the 18th and converting the short birdie putt.
Pepperell’s 67 was the lowest score of the day but Molinari’s 69 was better in the circumstances, especially playing alongside Woods and not dropping a shot in windy conditions.
Bogey-free streaks for @F_Molinari in his last 3 wins (all in last 6 starts):
BMW PGA: last 44 holes
Quicken Loans: last 28 holes
The Open: last 37 holes— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) July 22, 2018
The Golf Channel’s Justin Ray points out the brilliant mistake-free golf Molinari has been producing.
Unsurprisingly the par-five 14th was the easiest hole for the fourth straight day, with McIlroy and Rose making two of the three eagles. Only two players failed to make par or better, with 58 making birdie as the hole played to an average of 4.228.
The prospects of a remarkable 15th major title for Woods after he proved he could compete once more at the highest level.
- Press Association