Published: Wed, July 25, 2018
Sport | By Patty Hardy

Italy’s Francesco Molinari wins the claret jug ending America’s win streak

Italy’s Francesco Molinari wins the claret jug ending America’s win streak

Francesco Molinari has won the British Open capping a thrilling Sunday that saw Tiger Woods get himself in the hunt.

The 42-year-old, who has not won a major since 2008 as personal problems and health issues have stalled his career, will tee off at 2:25pm with Italy's Francesco Molinari, who is six under par. The clincher was a bold drive on the 18th hole that flirted with edge of a pot bunker, a wedge to 5 feet and a birdie putt that made him a major champion.

However, the loudest cheers of the day were reserved for 14-time major champion Tiger Woods, who stormed into contention with a five-under 66 round.

"Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah", said Woods, who finished the tournament finished tied for sixth, three shots behind playing partner Molinari.

If this was the Woods of 15 years ago, he likely would be "the champion golfer of the year, " as they say over here, and have his name on the claret jug a fourth time. This was his first British Open since missing the cut in 2015.

"I've just thoroughly enjoyed being here", Locke said.

Seven players had a share of the lead at one point. But then there's a difference between being three-over on Friday and way off the lead and three-over and way off the lead on Saturday morning.

Tiger Woods has parred his first two holes and remains four shots back from Spieth, Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, who shared the third-round lead at 9-under.

The drama really ramped up a notch after Spieth and co-leader Xander Schauffele each bogeyed the fifth, leaving Woods within one. And even though I made that birdie on the second, which was a good start, I couldn't really capitalise on that start.

"Momentum-wise, birdieing the very first hole, picking up where I left off, got me well into the round". Hopefully, there were a lot of young kids watching on TV today, like I was watching Costantino in '95 coming so close.

However, Tommy Fleetwood's chances of becoming the first English victor since Nick Faldo in 1992 looked to have gone after he pulled his third shot on the sixth out of bounds, the resulting double bogey leaving him six off the pace. "I knew that going in", he said.

England's Tommy Fleetwood holds the course record at Carnoustie with a 63 recorded in last year's Dunhill Links Championship, but the lowest score in an Open at the venue is 64, shot by Steve Stricker and Richard Green in rounds three and four respectively in 2007. Schauffele has two holes remaining.

"I think I played it out at Augusta in my head".

Of today's performance, he admitted to ESPN, "A little ticked off at myself for sure", adding, "I had a chance starting the back nine to do something and I didn't do it".

Round of the day: On a day when the winds were up and conditions were as tough as they've been all week, Molinari started his round with 13 straight pars before finally making birdie on the par-5 14th, a hole that was playing more like a par 4 during the final round.

Then, on the short par-four 11th, Woods struck a lovely tee shot and got up-and-down from just left of the green, using the putter twice.

"Even if I don't play my best golf and don't shoot the scores I want, I'm going to go down swinging, and I'm going to go down giving it my best", he said.

Rory McIlroy is also in with a shot of a second Open title after one under 70 to leave him, like Woods, tied for 7th. Unfortunately, I hit a bad three-iron off the tee there at 11, and then the grass grabbed my shaft again and hit it left.

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