Red-hot Molinari wins Open, Tiger finishes T6
(Carnoustie, Scotland:) Quietly-spoken Francesco Molinari has created golfing history becoming the first Italian to win a major with his stunning two-shot success in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie.
Playing the final round in the company of Tiger Woods, Molinari kept his calm in the increasingly windy conditions registering 13 pars before his first birdie at the par-5 14th.
Molinari, 38, headed to the last tied for the lead with American Xander Schauffele on seven-under par when he pulled off a stunning chip shot to within virtual tap-in distance to birdie the last in a score of 69 to eventually win by two shots at eight under.
The affable Italian’s victory comes 23-years after Costantino Rocca suffered the heartache of losing the 1995 Open Championship.
“Absolutely amazing,” said the new World No. 6 ranked golfer.
“I think it’ll take a long time to sink in.”
WITB: Francesco Molinari
Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: TaylorMade M4 (8.5º)
3 Wood: TaylorMade M3 (13º)
Driving Iron: TaylorMade P-790 UDI
Irons: TaylorMade P-790 (4), TaylorMade P-750 (5-PW)
Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (50 and 56º), TaylorMade Hi-Toe (60º)
Putter: Bettinardi Dass BB-0
Just 10 weeks ago, there was no sign of the transformative turn that Francesco Molinari’s career was about to take.
He had just missed the cut at The Players Championship and, having won only once in six years – on home soil at the 2016 Italian Open – had slipped outside of the world’s top 30.
Since then Molinari has entered six events, winning three of them and finishing second in two of the others.
And following his flawless final round at Carnoustie today, in which he saw off some of golf’s biggest names to win The Open, he is now a Major winner.
That sinking-in period might just be longer than the spell in which Molinari has gone from the quiet man on the sidelines to the most in-form player on the planet.
He began his purple patch with victory at Wentworth in the BMW PGA Championship, where he had been runner-up 12 months earlier.
He almost achieved back-to-back wins when second at the Italian Open the following week, before heading to the US Open, where he was tied for 25th.
In his next outing he won his first PGA Tour title, the Quicken Loans National, and followed it up with a another second place at the John Deere Classic.
Days later he was clutching the Claret Jug, having seen off serial Major winners such as Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods.
Molinari’s win was in keeping with his unassuming manner: 13 consecutive pars while contender after contender – including playing partner Woods, upon whom much of the attention was focused – dropped shots followed by a birdie at 14 to take the outright lead.
Even when Xander Schauffele joined him on seven under, the man from Turin did not lose his cool. He kept the pars ticking over before landing the knockout blow with a birdie at 18.
Schauffele, who had recovered from dropping four shots in three holes before the turn, immediately bogeyed 17 to hand Molinari a two-shot advantage that would stay intact.
“I was [calm and composed] as much as you can be. I was ready for it. It could happen or not happen but I knew what I needed to do,” Molinari added.
“Playing with Tiger was even more special. I couldn’t have written it any better. You see the end result but it’s been a long journey.”
“The last month has just been confidence. Winning at Wentworth after being so close many times gave me more confidence, and winning in the States. And now here we are.”
Jason Day left his best for last firing a 3-under 68 on the final day to share the Australian honours in equal 17th alongside Adam Scott, who slipped out of contention with a 2-over round of 73.
Cameron Davis fired six birdies in his round but gave back five shots along the way to finish the week with a respectable T39.
Lucas Herbert (T51), Marc Leishman (60), Brett Rumford (T61) and Cameron Smith were the last of the Australians to make the cut.