The Final day of the 147th Open gave some nerve-racking moments to all the golf lovers. Francesco Molinari lifted the prestigious Claret Jug in the style of a true Champion at Carnoustie. Molinari became the first Italian to win a major, after holding off star golfers Tiger Woods, Justin Rose & Rory McIlroy.
Molinari shot a two-under final round of 69 in stormy conditions on the beautiful links of Carnoustie to finish eight under. He finished two ahead of four players, including home favourites Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy, tied on six under. In his previous five starts, Molinari had won twice and finished runner-up twice.
It was an afternoon of undiluted sporting drama, with plot lines dismissed as implausible by most scriptwriters.
Tiger Woods rolled back the years for the second straight day, producing a swaggering front nine as he surged to the top of the leader board. It seemed fate this group would produce the Champion Golfer as so it did, just not the one expected.
Woods’s playing partner Molinari kept his head down and maintained his focus, he was not interested in playing a supporting role.
The 14-time major champion ultimately finished three shots back from the Italian, a double bogey at 11 and bogey at 12 ultimately denying those who wanted to write a fairytale story.
Molinari picked up a birdie on the 14th to put himself top of the leaderboard – which at one point was crowed with six players who couldn’t be separated.
But a brilliant and nerveless 18th – a hole that has been the undoing of so many at Carnoustie over the year – sealed his victory, his first birdie there this week.
He went to the putting green to prepare for the play-off but when Xander Schauffele, his nearest rival, dropped a shot at the 17th, meaning he needed an eagle at the last, it was all over.
Justin Rose, who needed a birdie at the 18th on Friday to make the cut, finished in a tie for second with Rory McIlroy, whose charge ignited, flickered and ultimately faded. Americans Kevin Kisner and Schauffele joined them two shots back of Molinari.
Then came Woods and England’s Eddie Pepperell, who posted the best round of the day with a 67. Scotland’s Sam Locke won the Silver Medal for leading amateur.
Molinari’s win continues the course of third round leaders when Carnoustie stages The Open – this is the eighth Open on these fabled links and only one, Ben Hogan in 1953, managed to hang on to win the Claret Jug.
Source: The Open