Francesco Molinari wins Open Championship to become first Italian major champion

Francesco Molinari wins Open Championship to become first Italian major champion

And he could get the battle with Tiger Woods he has always hoped for with the 14-time major victor among the chasing pack after a day of low scoring at a defenceless Carnoustie.

Naturally all the attention was focused on Tiger, and then when he made two awful mistakes on the 11th it fell on Jordan Spieth and Schauffele as they at first looked solid and then unravelled, and then on Kevin Kisner and Kevin Chappell before they faltered.

McIlroy eagled the 14th from 40 feet as he finished 6-under-par, but it was Molinari who stayed solid, stayed calm and got the job done. But it was the American's playing partner Molinari who wrote his own script to claim his major breakthrough at the 36th time of asking. I'm not surprised. He seemed confident walking off the putting green today, the little that we talked.

Molinari's win was the first in the Open for a golfer from Italy and ended a streak of five straight major championships won by Americans.

Today's showing was just Woods' tenth major championship start since 2014.

"Chaotic is probably the best way to put it", he said.

"It's been a few years since I've felt like this", he said.

"I can't find the words right now, but one picture would do it." he tweeted in both English and Italian, attaching a picture of little brother Francesco pumping his fist after winning the British Open.

"I'm not getting ahead of myself, I'm just in a good position".

Woods has not played in the Open since 2015 due to injury and is without a victory since 2013, while the last of his 14 major titles to date came a decade ago in the US Open.

"The only thing they've seen is my struggles and the pain I was going through".

Tiger Woods of the U.S. walks on to the 18th green during the final round
Tiger Woods of the U.S. walks on to the 18th green during the final round

"I don't even know where I went", he said when asked whether he had just wandered into town in the downtime before his 4pm tee off.

One of the house rules: victor pays for the flight home, though not everyone will be on the same plane this year with players headed in too many different directions.

McIlroy said Woods is in a similar situation to his in terms of trying to win more majors.

"Obviously, I could have played a mid-iron to the middle of the fairway", he said. The fan that interrupted an important Tiger Woods backswing late in his round Sunday is potentially far worse.

The last of Woods' three Open triumphs came back in 2006.

If it wasn't exactly Tigermania, it was close.

The last time Woods led or held a share of the lead at the end of a round at a major was in 2012, at the PGA Championship.

At the age of 42, finding a way to win is going to be a tall task. "But I was right there". I've had different parts of every single part of my game being at kind of a low point in my career - not all at the same time - but enough to where I haven't really been able to compete. For the first time I felt like I was ready for it.

While Spieth's haircut initially drew attention - although his barber somehow managed not to recognise him - his brilliant golf and that of Woods was what really captured the attention on a thrilling third day at Carnoustie.

Justin Rose, who made the cut with an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole of the second round, is 5 under through 15 holes and 2 under for the tournament. I putted well. I holed out when I needed to. "I just try to be as vulnerable with him as I can and let him help me the most he can". He shot 77 and missed the cut by one shot.

But Scott knows the golfing gods will need to smile on him.

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