Italy's Molinari Wins Golf's British Open

Rory Mc Ilroy reacts on the 18th during the final round

He was a forgotten figure when he teed off in the final round of the British Open, mainly because he was playing with Tiger Woods, and because of the star power around him.

Rory McIlroy reacts on the 18th during the final round.

"Anyone can look at it however they want to, but I'm going to look at it as a positive moving forward, and try to learn how to handle the situations a little better next time". "But it's been the same the whole of my career".

It was expected that recent American dominance of golf's four Majors would continue at the British Open, but instead Carnoustie delivered Italy's first ever victor of the Claret Jug in the shape of Francesco Molinari. "It's awesome to stand here with the Claret Jug".

And it wasn't an accident.

Molinari, playing in his 36th Major, finished on eight-under 276, two shots ahead of Schauffele, Rose, McIlroy and Kisner.

Carnoustie tempered some of that confidence. "Golf is a tough beast", said Francesco.

"I hadn't felt the energy of the crowd for a while in the Open", said Rose, who had his best finish at his home major. "I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling".

The Europe Ryder Cup player started the final day three shots adrift of overnight leaders Spieth, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele, but maintained composure while his rivals all dropped shots in a thrilling battle for the lead. Kevin Chappell had a putt to tie the lead with Molinari at No. 16 before making double bogey on the next.

He became the first major victor since Steve Elkington won the PGA Championship in 1995 to play the final 36 holes without a single score over par.

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

Molinari closed with a 69, significant for two reasons. "He's been working his butt off", Spieth said.

"When we had played nine holes and saw that Tiger was in the lead, we thought, "wow, this is going to be a dogfight until the end" and it turned out that way", McIlroy said. It truly is hard work that paid off for Francesco. I'm happy with how I played. Perhaps for the first time all day, the calmness Molinari exhibited throughout on the course turned to nervousness.

Molinari emerged from a six-way tie for the lead, when all the players were either on the back nine or in the clubhouse, to lift the Claret Jug. They had their chance at glory two decades ago. Rocca was paired in the final round with Woods two years later at the 1997 Masters, but that wasn't much of a contest. "First of all my family for travelling all around world, my wife for being a really big part of my team and my family back in Italy". "Obviously, to achieve something like this is on another level". I think that's because I have been playing a lot of golf for the past few weeks.

Ultimately, they were just three more players to be denied by the ice-cold Molinari.

The "where I was" referred to the years of debilitating back pain that was finally solved by a spinal fusion last April, allowing him to resume his career after four years of severely-curtailed appearances. One guy out of 156 is going to win.

Francesco Molinari of Italy speaks during a press conference after winning the British Open Golf Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland, Sunday July 22, 2018.

Tiger Woods of the United States during the final round of the British Open Golf Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland, Sunday July 22, 2018.

Jordan Spieth, tied for the lead in his bid to go back-to-back in the British Open, failed to make a single birdie and shot 76, his highest score Sunday in a major.

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Ice-cool Molinari holds off pack to win absorbing Open
Obviously, there's a lot more people [around] if you're grouped with him than if I'm playing some of the other guys. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots you just have to hit it straight. "You can't really hide".