Francesco Molinari Wins British Open in a First for Italy

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland — Francesco Molinari gained the British Open on a blustery and sunny Sunday, giving Italy its first victory at one in every of golf’s main championships.

Molinari, 35, outplayed a densely packed discipline in the ultimate spherical that included the defending champion Jordan Spieth, a resurgent Tiger Woods and the 2 main European gamers of Molinari’s technology: Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy.

Internally, the strain of the second will need to have been tough to handle at Carnoustie Golf Links. But externally, he displayed nothing however cool, going with out a bogey over the ultimate two rounds on what’s broadly thought-about probably the most tough course on the British Open rotation.

“The course bit me a few times the first couple days but to go bogey-free over the weekend on a track like this is incredible,” Molinari mentioned.

His final-round rating, 69, allowed him to complete with an eight-under-par whole of 276: two strokes forward of Rose, McIlroy, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele and three strokes forward of Woods, Eddie Pepperell and Kevin Chappell.

“With the carnage going on out there — guys making double bogeys and triple bogeys and bogeys — Francesco stood up,” mentioned Paul McGinley, the previous European Ryder Cup participant and captain. “He was tuned in, and he won this tournament. With all the guys up there looking to win and all the guys in the equation, one guy stood out.”

Molinari began the day three pictures behind the American co-leaders: Spieth, Schauffele and Kisner, who have been at nine-under par. But the leaders faltered and the main focus quickly shifted to Molinari’s pairing with Woods, who took the outright lead at seven-under as they completed the entrance 9.

Woods, the 42-year-old American, stays golf’s greatest star even with out having gained a main championship in 10 years, or any match in 5. The buzz and gallery following Woods continued to develop as he made a scrambling par on the 10th gap after a full-force blast from a fairway bunker to the entrance fringe of the inexperienced.

But a wayward drive on No. 11 opened the door to a double bogey that dropped Woods out of the lead for good. Alongside him, Molinari stored his composure and an unblemished scorecard, with par after par after par.

Molinari made his first birdie of the spherical on No. 14 and his closing birdie on No. 18 with a memorable second shot downwind that rolled to 5 toes of the cup.

That gave him a one-stroke lead over Schauffele, the 24-year-old American who has already cast a behavior of manufacturing his greatest golf on the sport’s greatest occasions.

But a bogey by Schauffele at 17 gave Molinari a two-stroke cushion, and though there had been one eagle on 18 this week, when Zander Lombard holed out from the golf green, this Xander couldn’t handle it.

When Schauffele’s method shot landed nicely wanting the pin on the 18th inexperienced, Molinari instantly stopped working towards his placing for a doable playoff and started hugging the members of his in depth group and his spouse, Valentina, who was crying behind her darkish sun shades.

“It’s been a long journey really, and now obviously you see the end result and when you are holding this, it changes a few things,” mentioned Molinari, cradling the claret jug that’s awarded to the Open champion. “I got a lot of help from all the team, and I think the last few weeks, the last month, it has just been confidence.”

Molinari’s older brother, Edoardo Molinari, can also be a veteran skilled golfer, and was the extra profitable of the brothers as an newbie, profitable the U.S. Amateur in 2005 after which taking part in the Masters the next yr with Francesco as his caddie.

They later have been teammates on the European Ryder Cup group in 2010, however Francesco has taken his sport to a new degree this season.

He gained the BMW P.G.A. Championship on the European Tour in May, outdueling McIlroy in the ultimate group. He gained his first P.G.A. Tour occasion earlier this month on the Quicken Loans National in Potomac, Md., receiving the trophy from Woods. He then completed in a tie for second final week on the John Deere Classic.

Though he had by no means gained a main, his identify was on many a quick listing coming into Carnoustie. More essential, his identify is now on the claret jug.

He has a distinctive place in his nation’s golf historical past, eclipsing Constantino Rocca, the chain-smoking Italian who sank a monster putt on the 72nd gap, solely to lose a playoff with American John Daly on the 1995 British Open.

“For the first time I felt I was ready for it,” Molinari mentioned. “It could have happened. It could not have happened, but I knew I was going to do what I needed to do. Obviously playing with Tiger makes it even more special. I couldn’t have written it any better.”

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