Francesco Molinari held his nerve to create history when winning the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie.
Molinari continued his run of form with a blemish free final round at Carnoustie to finish on eight-under par to win the 147th Open by two shots from a quartet of contenders – Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele.
It was Molinari’s near perfect final round two-under par that saw him create history as the first Italian golfer to win one of the four majors, ending a topsy-turvy day in which more than 10 players held claims on lifting the Claret Jug and one where a play-off seemed almost inevitable.
“It is absolutely amazing,” Molinari said after being crowned The Open champion. “I think it will take a long time to sink in. It has been a great week. The course bit me a few times in the first two days, but to go bogey-free around this track at the weekend is incredible.”
At one stage, Tiger Woods led the Open outright as fans dreamed of an amazing comeback for the 14-time major winner on his first start in the event for four years. But Woods eventually signed for a level-par final round to finish tied for sixth on five-under par as playing partner Molinari celebrated victory.
Justin Rose did, however, complete a remarkable turnaround in fortunes to finish in tied second place. His two-under par final round followed a seven-under par third round, all that coming after the Englishman birdied the last on Friday to make the cut.
McIlroy finished one-under par on Sunday to also finished runner-up, while Kisner and Schauffele will wonder what might have been after carding three-over par final rounds to drop out of contention to be The Open champion.
Schuffele’s fellow co-leader heading into the final round was Justin Spieth, but the defending champion endured a frustrating day with a five-over par score seeing him end in ninth place.
Kevin Chappel, playing in the penultimate group with Kisner, also tumbled down the leaderboard after a two-over par round to finish on five-under along with Woods and Eddie Pepperell, who surged into contention after a four-under par round earlier in the day.