Francesco Molinari is your 2018 Open Champion at Carnoustie.
After three generous rounds of conditions, the winds picked up in Scotland on Sunday, setting the stage for drama and carnage.
The overnight leaders in Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele, and Kevin Kisner were well-placed, but Kisner started with a double bogey and another dropped shot within his first three holes. He would shoot level par for the remainder of the final round.
Spieth and Schauffele were holding their own to begin with, as various chasers were faltering.
Enter Tiger Woods, whose two birdies on the front nine saw him briefly take the sole lead at -7.
That was because the leading duo came a cropper on the fifth hole; with Spieth going bogey-double bogey, and Schauffele going bogey-bogey-double. All of a sudden, it’s was anyone’s Open to win.
The hungover Eddie Pepperell held the clubhouse lead on -5 after a final round 67, before Justin Rose birdied the difficult last to finish on -6. He was joined on that number by Rory McIlroy, whose recovery culminated in a stunning eagle on the 14th.
🎙️ "Can you believe it?"
McIlroy holes an eagle putt on the 14th to join the co-leaders on six under! 🦅
— Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) July 22, 2018
Rory was unable to add to that though, going par on the final four holes.
As the craziness swirled around Carnoustie, Francesco Molinari, playing in the frying pan that is a Tiger Woods group, had kept his head down and strung together 13 straight pars. The Italian was in the best form of his life heading into this week, winning at the BMW PGA Championship and the Quicken Loans National in recent months.
A birdie on the reachable par five 14th was followed by three further pars.
On 18, his playing partner heard a massive shout on his backswing, only adding to the drama.
Something really has to be done about these toddlers crying in backswings.
— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelTAN) July 22, 2018
Now on -7, Molinari dispatched his approach close to the 18th hole, and made a final birdie to go 8 under, one ahead of Schauffele.
The young American bogied the 17th though, and was unable to hole an unlikely eagle from the fairway on the last to force a playoff.
Molinari’s last bogey unbelievably came on the 17th on Friday. He becomes the first Italian to win a Major championship, and it’s thoroughly deserved.
— Sergio Garcia (@TheSergioGarcia) July 22, 2018
— Branden Grace (@BrandenGrace) July 22, 2018
— Tyrrell Hatton (@TyrrellHatton) July 22, 2018
@F_Molinari To play that well alongside Tiger on a Sunday at the Open is so impressive! Heck of a run he’s having this year…
— Harris English (@Harris_English) July 22, 2018