Francesco Molinari wins The Open to claim maiden Major

He had to settle for a second-place tie with Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Kevin Kisner at 6 under. Amazingly, all three of those players made double-bogeys over the first seven holes; Spieth, the defending champion, shot 76 to drop to a tie for ninth.

Woods initially took advantage after playing the front nine two under, but it unravelled for the American great with a double bogey at 11 when he crashed a tee shot into the fans before fluffing a chip up to the green.

Molinari, who shot into contention with a sublime 65 on Saturday, dealt superbly with the scrutiny that comes with playing alongside Woods, keeping the ball in play and making his putts resulting in 13 straight pars.

"It was a blast, " Woods said.

The final round of the 2018 Open Championship did not disappoint.

"That putt on the last, I'll never forget", he said.

"Even though he's won 14, you have to learn how to get back".

His anger over his mistakes was tempered by perspective, comparing it to Serena Williams losing in the finals at Wimbledon.

He parred his way home for a 70, any realistic hope of winning the British Open for the second time disappearing when he pushed his wedge into 18 and failed to make the birdie putt.

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Better was to follow for the American, a target for Sunday's opponents, as he put the Germans into the lead with a minute to play. Both managers made wholesale changes at the start of the second half as they looked to freshen things up.

In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour's marquee events, throughout his career.

When he birdied the 14th hole Sunday, that gave him an outside chance at getting back into the tournament, as he trailed by just 2 strokes.

However, it proved to be a false dawn as three dropped shots in two holes saw him fall behind and in the end the 14-time major victor was being consoled by his two children.

Solid off the tee, suspect at times on the green, Molinari first showed his potential in a World Golf Championship in Shanghai in 2010 when Lee Westwood made his debut at No. 1 in the world.

"It didn't feel any different, " he insisted. I didn't know if that would ever happen again, but here I am with a chance in a major. I made four bets at the halfway stage and two of them made all the difference.

Between them, Schauffele, Kisner and Chappell had played in just six Open Championships and it felt like that may have been the difference as bunkers were found with regularity and drives ran through fairways.

"Sometimes I have a few drinks, " said Pepperell, who finished as Woods was in the lead.

"With the Tiger we have to face, he does things that maybe he didn't do 10, 15 years ago, " he said. While Woods did not win The Open, he finished at 5-under par and was actually in sole possession of the lead at one point on the back nine. Also that year he tied for fourth at the Masters. His two children, Sam and Charlie, aren't old enough to have witnessed how incredible Woods can really be on the final day of a major.

But in his traditional last-day red shirt he continued where he left off the previous day to turn the screws on those above him. Then two weeks after that, it is the FedEx Cup playoffs.



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