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British Open: Molinari becomes Italy's first major champion

By
Alex Butler
Italy's Francesco Molinari kisses the Claret Jug after victory in the 2018 Open Golf championships on Sunday in Carnoustie, Scotland. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI
Italy's Francesco Molinari kisses the Claret Jug after victory in the 2018 Open Golf championships on Sunday in Carnoustie, Scotland. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

July 22 (UPI) -- Francesco Molinari won the 147th British Open -- becoming the first Italian to win a major championship -- Sunday in Carnoustie, Scotland.

Molinari carded a final round of 2-under-par to end up 8-under-par at the tournament, edging second-place finishers Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele.

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"It was incredible to go bogey-free over the weekend," Molinari told the Golf Channel.

"I knew I still had a chance going into Saturday and yesterday was a big day because we knew the conditions were as easy as they were going to get. To shoot 6-under-par yesterday was massive and today was a different kind of golf, more pars. I missed a few shots but up and down pretty well from everywhere. Incredible to go bogey-free on a course like this."

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Tiger Woods led the field by one shot when he stood on the 11th tee, but could not hold off his playing partner at Carnoustie Golf Links.

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Molinari did not card a bogey over the final 37 holes of the tournament. He made par through the first 13 holes on Sunday, before making a birdie putt on No. 14 for the outright lead at the tournament. He made par on No. 15, No. 16 and No. 17 before finishing off with another birdie on No. 18.

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"I had a few mistakes there," Woods said. "I drove it into the rough with two three irons at No. 11 and No. 12. The grass grabbed the shaft on both of them and I made a couple of mistakes on 11 around the green. I figured out starting the day that 9-under-par was probably going to be the number."

Woods finished with a final round of 71 and in sixth place at 5-under-par for the tournament. Eddie Pepperell and American Kevin Chappell finished tied with Woods. 2017 British Open champion Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar finished in ninth place at 4-under-par.

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"I'm actually very pleased with my week," Spieth said. "I've come from a place where I wasn't sure how long it would take me to get back from in my golf game, earlier this year. Just giving myself an opportunity was good this week. Obviously disappointed having a share of the lead and really only needing to shoot par. But I love every aspect of my game right now. I feel like it's going in the right direction. I think it's going to be a strong end of the year. I just didn't get the right bounces today. Sometimes that happens."

Molinari was ranked No. 15 in the world before hoisting the Claret Jug and moved up to No. 6. Woods is ranked No. 50. The 2019 British Open will take place at Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland. The final major championship this season takes place from Aug. 9 to Aug. 12 at Bellerive Country Club in Town and Country, Miss.

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