In a final game where players traded the lead at various points, it was Francesco Molinari who claimed victory in the end, finishing two shots ahead of his opponents. Tiger Woods fell short of his longed-for comeback.
Golfer Francesco Molinari became the first Italian major champion on Sunday, winning the British Open in Carnoustie, Scotland. The 35-year-old from Turin claimed his victory by firing a two-under-par 69. Molinari, playing in his 36th major, earned a top spot in world golf by finishing with an eight-under total of 276.
The Italian golfer played alongside former world No. 1 Tiger Woods in the final round. Woods seemed closer than ever to ending his decade-long victory drought in the majors midway through the round.
The American had topped the leaderboard, but a double-bogey at the 11th hole and another dropped stroke at the following hole ended his prospects for a comeback.
"The way Francesco played today was beautiful," said Woods, a 14-time major winner, of the new champion.
Golfers Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele all finished within two shots of the Italian, in a finale that was marked by strong winds and with the lead changing hands at various points during the game.
Molinari: 'what a week'
Molinari hugged his caddie in celebration, after a 5-foot birdie putt at the 18th hole sealed his victory. The British Open marks Molinari's third win in five starts, and he also ended as runner-up in the other two tournaments.
Receiving the tournament trophy, the Claret Jug, Molinari said that it would take a while for him to truly grasp the enormity of his achievement.
"What a week!" Molinari said. "Obviously it's incredible to stand here. I've got a massive team behind me; each one of them has been a massive part of the journey to get to this point," the golfer added.
"Playing with Tiger made it even more special. I couldn't have written it any better," Molinari said.
jcg/tj (Reuters, dpa, AFP)