Ice-cold Molinari repels a slew of challengers to win British Open

Francesco Molinari

New Open champion Francesco Molinari hopes becoming the first Italian major victor will inspire a new generation of players just as Costantino Rocca did for him in 1995.

Another tough par putt went down, keeping Molinari in a tie for the lead, much to the relief of his wife, Valentina, who behind the green made a quiet fist pump to those she was with in a gesture that she had every reason to repeat often.

Plenty of weekend golfers have hit the links while coping with a hangover, but majority were not competing in the British Open at the time.

Ultimately, Molinari's technique held up amid the fiercest pressure.

Sunday's result was not what numerous thousands who tracked through the humps and hollows of the links course wanted, though it probably was for the male spectator who heckled Woods as he hit his drive at the final hole.

There were contrasting emotions for the four guys who finished closest to Molinari. I did my best yesterday to try and make it to the weekend. He followed up a 64 on Saturday - the lowest round of the week - with a 69 on Sunday to post the first realistic clubhouse target at 6 under par.

"I didn't play very well on the front".

Rose birdied the fearsome 18th hole in all four rounds, one of the more impressive feats of the week.

For McIlroy, the only regret was that he started his charge too late.

However, the 42-year-old 14-time major victor had his rivals rattled when he grabbed the lead thanks to two birdies on the front nine while they were dropping shots.

Woods had not played The Open since missing the cut at St. Andrews in 2015. "I had a chance starting that back nine to do something, and I didn't do it". "Just sort of ran out of holes at the end".

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McIlroy remained without a major victory since winning his fourth at the PGA Championship in 2014. Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner share the lead at 9-under-par.

Schauffele was playing in the final pairing at a major for the first time.

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

The 42-year-old golfer was greeted by his girlfriend and children after the final round. On the tenth hole, an aggressive shot out of a fairway pot bunker landed near the edge of the green. The American topped the leaderboard until his hopes nosedived following a double-bogey at the 11th and another dropped stroke at the next hole.

The most anxious he looked all day was sitting watching Californian Schauffele play the 17th and 18th.

"When I came here, I felt I was ready for the challenge", he said. I was in the final group.

'I'm a little ticked off at myself for sure, ' Woods told Sky Sports.

"I was a little hung over".

And then there was Kisner, looking to go wire-to-wire. Maybe not all the way back, but Tiger Woods is in contention at a major for the first time in half a decade, and that's not a sentence we ever thought we'd type a year ago.

Even Eddie Pepperell, teeing off in the morning with a hangover, potentially could have made a playoff after a 67.

Ultimately, they were just three more players to be denied by the ice-cold Molinari.



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