CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Francesco Molinari performed a gentle hand amid the cheers for Tiger Woods and one other loopy ending at Carnoustie to win the British Open and grow to be Italy’s first main champion.
Woods introduced pandemonium by charging into the lead on Sunday at a serious for the primary time in 9 years, solely to lose it with one dangerous gap. Jordan Spieth value himself by failing to make a single birdie.
Seven gamers had a share of the lead in some unspecified time in the future. Six had been nonetheless tied on the again 9.
By way of all that, Molinari by no means flinched.
He closed with a 2-under 69, enjoying the ultimate 37 holes on the hardest hyperlinks in golf with out a bogey. The clincher was a daring drive on the 18th gap that flirted with fringe of a pot bunker, a wedge to five ft and a birdie putt that gave him a lead nobody within the final two teams was in a position to erase.
Molinari raised his fist and shook it frivolously earlier than slamming it for emphasis.
“Simply disbelief, to be trustworthy,” the 35-year-old mentioned with the gleaming claret jug in entrance of him. “To go the weekend bogey-free, it is unthinkable. Enjoying with Tiger was one other problem. However I felt actually good this morning. I felt I used to be prepared for the problem.”
He completed at Eight-under 276, the bottom rating in eight Opens at Carnoustie, the course the place Jean Van de Velde threw away the British Open with a triple bogey on the final gap in 1999, the place Padraig Harrington twice hit into Barry Burn on the final gap to make double bogey and nonetheless received.
Earlier within the day, Woods had each purpose to imagine he would cap a most wonderful comeback.
He had a one-shot lead till a double bogey on the 11th gap, a bogey on the following. He and Molinari had been collectively three weeks in the past when Woods handed him the trophy at his Quicken Loans Nationwide.
“Francesco performed actually solidly immediately,” Woods mentioned. “He was working the ball across the greens, and that was cool to see.”
With the wind gusting to 20 mph, the strongest it had been all week, Molinari was the one participant from the final 4 teams to interrupt par.
Woods closed with a 71 to tie for sixth, three photographs behind. It was the primary time since 2007 that he trailed going into the ultimate spherical of a serious, had the lead and did not win.
The victory provides to Molinari’s greatest stretch of golf. Now at a career-best No. 6 on the planet, he has received thrice and been runner-up twice up to now two months.
Nobody within the ultimate two teams was in a position to threaten Molinari.
Kevin Chappell (73) missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the 16th that may have tied him for the lead, after which misfired right into a gorse bush on the 17th to take double bogey. Xander Schauffele, the final one to maintain alive the American streak of 5 straight majors, was one shot behind till he despatched an extended iron effectively to the best of the 17th gap and did not convert a 15-foot par putt to fall two photographs behind.
Schauffele needed to gap out a wedge on the ultimate gap to power a playoff, and the ball checked up effectively quick.
Molinari was on the placing inexperienced, not a lot to prepare for a playoff, however he could not bear to observe.
“It has been a troublesome battle,” Molinari mentioned modestly in congratulating the 4 guys who completed second. “However there can solely be one winner. This time, it is me.”
Schauffele needed to accept second place with Rory McIlroy (70), Justin Rose (69) and Kevin Kisner (74), all of whom had loads of purpose to hope on a heat, windy afternoon that put loads of chew again into Carnoustie.
All of them made errors, massive and small.
The largest blunder belonged to Woods, his purple shirt blazing towards the yellow grass of dry Scottish summer time. The roars for his two birdies may very well be heard from all corners of Carnoustie. It felt like outdated occasions, as everybody Woods was chasing started to break down.
Kisner, in a three-way tie for the lead, took double bogey on No. 2. Spieth hit right into a gorse bush and made double bogey on the par-5 sixth. Schauffele made double bogey on the following gap, leaving one within the wispy grass, one other over the inexperienced.
Woods was at 7 beneath, in charge of his recreation and hitting photographs that solely he can. From a pot bunker on No. 10, he took a daring and cruel swing to get it over the lip, over the burn and to the entrance fringe of the inexperienced.
After which all of it went improper. He pulled his shot from the tough on No. 11 into the gallery, fluffed a wedge wanting the inexperienced, ran it by Eight ft and missed the putt for double bogey. One other poor swing adopted and led to a different bogey, and similar to that, Woods was two photographs behind.
“Just a little ticked off at myself, for positive,” Woods mentioned. “I had an opportunity beginning that again 9 to do one thing, and I did not do it.”
Molinari saved par with Eight-foot putts on the 12th and 13th, and he took the lead for the primary time with a brief birdie on the par-5 14th. With one other powerful save from off the inexperienced on the 16th, he did not miss one other shot.
Spieth went from a bogey-free spherical on Saturday that gave him a share of the result in a birdie-free spherical that led to a 76, his highest Sunday rating in a serious.
“Once you put your self in place sufficient occasions, it goes your method generally, it does not go your method generally,” Spieth mentioned, who goes to the PGA Championship in three weeks for an opportunity on the profession Grand Slam.
Molinari is the primary Italian along with his identify on the claret jug. He was 12 when he watched Costantino Rocca lose in a playoff to John Daly on the British Open at St. Andrews.
“Hopefully, there have been a whole lot of younger youngsters watching on TV immediately, like I used to be watching Costantino in ’95 coming so shut,” he mentioned. “Hopefully, they’ll get as impressed as I used to be on the time.”