British Open: Molinari becomes first Italian to win a major golf title

by Steven Clarke July 26, 2018, 5:59
British Open: Molinari becomes first Italian to win a major golf title

Francesco Molinari of Italy (R) is congratulated by Tiger Woods of the United States after a birdie on the 18th hole during the final round of the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Club on July 22, 2018 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

Jordan Spieth is hoping to join the elite group of golfers to have retained the British Open title as he goes into the final round at Carnoustie on Sunday in a share of the lead.

Molinari settled for the best cheer of them all. In six major championship appearances, he has finished in the top six three times. "If someone was expecting a charge, they probably weren't expecting it from me".

By that point Woods, who led at 7 under with a steady beginning as all those around and behind him (aside from Molinari) were faltering, had dropped out of the lead pack and all the way to a tie for ninth after a double bogey at 11 and a bogey at the 12th hole. He followed that with a bogey and never caught up.

Defending champion Spieth failed to make a birdie, with a penalty drop from a gorse bush on the sixth leading to a double bogey in a final round of 76. Kisner also had a bogeyless Round 3 as he shot for 68 to keep himself in contention. They ran out of holes. Rose is No. 3 and almost joined them until he made an 18-foot birdie putt on the last hole to make the cut on the number.

Molinari clinched it with a driver that skirted the edge of a pot bunker, leaving him a lob wedge from 112 yards to 5 feet.

Molinari, who finished at 8-under 276, raised his fist and shook it lightly before slamming it for emphasis.

"Just disbelief, to be honest", the 35-year-old said.

"Incredible to go bogey-free at the weekend", he told NBC Sports. Very proud of - obviously, playing with Tiger was another challenge because of the crowds and everything.

"I feel fine. I've already gone through the frustration".

"There were a few shots I hit poorly out there".

The biggest blunder belonged to Woods, his red shirt blazing against the yellow grass of dry Scottish summer.

Without a doubt, Tiger Woods has still a shot of winning this tournament after shooting 66 on Saturday. "I played patiently. Never got down on myself".

He scrambled for par at the tough 18th hole at Carnoustie, after his tee shot landed on the bank of the Barry Burn and bounced right into the thick rough. Schauffele chopped up the next hole for double bogey.

Over to you, Chappell, Kisner, Schauffele and Spieth. Still in range, he couldn't get close enough for a birdie when it mattered.

It is four years since the 29-year-old last won a major - at the 2014 British Open at Hoylake - but he believes his extra know-how could count in his favor when the winds are expected to gust up to 28mph on Sunday.

His anger over his mistakes was tempered by perspective, comparing it to Serena Williams losing in the finals at Wimbledon. "I was trying to fight it instead of accepting that the wind is going to win out here".

Molinari, whose older brother Edoardo won the 2005 U.S. Amateur and played with him in the 2010 Ryder Cup, comes from a country known more for soccer and skiing than golf. "So that was the goal to make sure I got in the clubhouse ahead of him". I figured looking at the board isn't going to do me any good and I was just happy to claw my way back in a little bit.

It might sting even worse for Spieth. "Incredible to go bogey-free on a course like this". He laid up, pitched to three feet, and made a par. "I've had a career's worth in a few years", said Spieth, who admitted he found it "difficult" to hand over the Claret Jug when he arrived in Carnoustie on Monday.

The victory adds to Molinari's best stretch of golf.

This round wasn't flashy, and neither is Molinari.

Starting the day at even par through the first two rounds of the tournament, Woods made his first birdie of the day at the fourth hole.

But not the most memorable. I putted well. I holed out when I needed to.

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