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The Open: Flawless Francesco Molinari sees off McIlroy, Woods and Spieth on thrilling Sunday at Carnoustie

Francesco Molinari of Italy celebrates with the Claret Jug after winning the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Club on July 22, 2018 in Carnoustie, Scotland. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Francesco Molinari of Italy celebrates with the Claret Jug after winning the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Club on July 22, 2018 in Carnoustie, Scotland. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Italy's Francesco Molinari kisses the trophy as he poses for pictures with the Claret Jug, the trophy for the Champion golfer of the year after winning the 147th Open golf Championship at Carnoustie, Scotland on July 22, 2018. Italy's Francesco Molinari won the British Open by 2 shots after shooting a four round total of 276, 8 under par. / AFP PHOTO / Paul ELLISPAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
CARNOUSTIE, SCOTLAND - JULY 22: Francesco Molinari of Italy kisses the Claret Jug after winning the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Club on July 22, 2018 in Carnoustie, Scotland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Italy's Francesco Molinari with the The Claret Jug after winning The Open Championship 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday July 22, 2018. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Richard Sellers/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
Italy's Francesco Molinari celebrates his birdie on the final hole at The Open.
Italy's Francesco Molinari celebrates his birdie on the final hole at The Open.
Francesco Molinari ends his run of 13 straight pars with a birdie on the 14th.
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy talks to caddie Harry Diamond during the final round at the Open Championship.
Tiger Woods during the final round at Carnoustie.
Tiger Woods celebrates a birdie on the fourth.
Rory McIlroy endured a frustrating start on Sunday at Carnoustie.
USA's Tiger Woods on the first tee during day four of The Open Championship
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy during the final round of the Open Championship.
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks onto the first tee during the final round of the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie.
USA's Tiger Woods tees off the 1st during day four of The Open Championship 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday July 22, 2018. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
England's Tommy Fleetwood tees off the 3rd during day four of The Open Championship 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday July 22, 2018. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Richard Sellers/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
Rory McIlroy plays a shot during the third round of the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Club on July 21, 2018 in Carnoustie, Scotland. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
CARNOUSTIE, SCOTLAND - JULY 22: Paul Dunne of Ireland plays a shot on the fifth hole during the final round of the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Club on July 22, 2018 in Carnoustie, Scotland. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
England's Paul Casey on the 2nd green during day four of The Open Championship 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday July 22, 2018. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
CARNOUSTIE, SCOTLAND - JULY 22: Brooks Koepka of the United States pulls a club from his bag as he prepares to play a shot on the fifth hole during the final round of the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Club on July 22, 2018 in Carnoustie, Scotland. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy waits in the rough beside the 18th green during his third round on day 3 of The 147th Open golf Championship at Carnoustie, Scotland on July 21, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Paul ELLISPAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy after a bogey on the 18th during day three of The Open. Pic: Richard Sellers/PA Wire.
Phil Mickelson of the United States plays his shot from the fourth tee during the third round of the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Club on July 21, 2018 in Carnoustie, Scotland. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
England's Justin Rose celebrates his birdie on the 18th during day three of The Open Championship 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus.
CARNOUSTIE, SCOTLAND - JULY 21: Tiger Woods of the United States plays his shot from the fifth tee during the third round of the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Club on July 21, 2018 in Carnoustie, Scotland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
USA's Tiger Woods tees off the 5th during day three of The Open Championship 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday July 21, 2018. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
England's Justin Rose celebrates his birdie on the 18th during day three of The Open Championship 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday July 21, 2018. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
South Africa's Zander Lombard watches his iron shot from the 16th tee during his second round on day 2 of The 147th Open golf Championship at Carnoustie, Scotland on July 20, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Glyn KIRKGLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images
This handout from the Asian Tour taken and released on July 20, 2018 shows Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand (C) looking at a shot during his second round on day 2 of The 147th Open golf Championship at Carnoustie, Scotland. / AFP PHOTO / ASIAN TOUR / Paul LAKATOS / - EDITORS NOTE - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / ASIAN TOUR / Paul Lakatos" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - NO ARCHIVESPAUL LAKATOS/AFP/Getty Images
US golfer Pat Perez walks from the 17th tee during his second round on day 2 of The 147th Open golf Championship at Carnoustie, Scotland on July 20, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Andy BUCHANANANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images
This handout from the Asian Tour taken and released on July 20, 2018 shows Gavin Green of Malaysia gesturing during his second round on day 2 of The 147th Open golf Championship at Carnoustie, Scotland. / AFP PHOTO / ASIAN TOUR / Paul LAKATOS / - EDITORS NOTE - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / ASIAN TOUR / Paul Lakatos" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - NO ARCHIVESPAUL LAKATOS/AFP/Getty Images
This handout from the Asian Tour taken and released on July 20, 2018 shows Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand looking at a shot during his second round on day 2 of The 147th Open golf Championship at Carnoustie, Scotland. / AFP PHOTO / ASIAN TOUR / Paul LAKATOS / - EDITORS NOTE - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / ASIAN TOUR / Paul Lakatos" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - NO ARCHIVESPAUL LAKATOS/AFP/Getty Images
This handout from the Asian Tour taken and released on July 20, 2018 shows Gavin Green of Malaysia gesturing during his second round on day 2 of The 147th Open golf Championship at Carnoustie, Scotland. / AFP PHOTO / ASIAN TOUR / Paul LAKATOS / - EDITORS NOTE - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / ASIAN TOUR / Paul Lakatos" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - NO ARCHIVESPAUL LAKATOS/AFP/Getty Images
Australia's Cameron Davis on the 4th during day two of The Open Championship. Pic: David Davies/PA Wire.
England's Matthew Fitzpatrick on the 1st tee during day two of The Open Championship 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 20, 2018. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Richard Sellers/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
CARNOUSTIE, SCOTLAND - JULY 20: Henrik Stenson of Sweden plays his shot from the second tee during the second round of the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Club on July 20, 2018 in Carnoustie, Scotland. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
England's Lee Westwood during day two of The Open Championship 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 20, 2018. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
England's Tom Lewis tees off the 4th during day two of The Open Championship 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 20, 2018. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy tees off the 1st during day two of The Open Championship 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 20, 2018. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Richard Sellers/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
Scotland's Russell Knox on the 18th during day one of The Open Championship 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links - Credit: David Davies/PA Wire
USA's Tiger Woods after his round on the 18th during day one of The Open Championship 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 19, 2018. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Richard Sellers/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
USA's Tiger Woods after his round on the 18th during day one of The Open Championship 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 19, 2018. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Richard Sellers/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
USA's Bubba Watson (right) and England's Matthew Wallace shake hands at the end of their rounds on the 18th during day one of The Open Championship 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 19, 2018. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
A view of Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy's shoes reading 'NASTY' during day one of The Open Championship 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 19, 2018. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
Spain's Sergio Garcia on the 18th during day one of The Open Championship 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 19, 2018. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
USA's Tiger Woods tees off the 17th during day one of The Open Championship 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 19, 2018. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Richard Sellers/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy tees off the 5th during day one of The Open Championship 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 19, 2018. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only. The Open Championship logo and clear link to The Open website (TheOpen.com) to be included on website publishing.
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy after his birdie on the 3rd during day one of The Open Championship 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus.
England's Lee Westwood tees off the 3rd during day one of The Open Championship 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus.
England's Matthew Fitzpatrick on the 2nd green during day one of The Open Championship 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus.
Sweden's Henrik Stenson tees off the 3rd during day one of The Open Championship 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus.
England's Tommy Fleetwood tees off the 3rd during day one of The Open Championship 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus.
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

Francesco Molinari carded a final round 69 to win The Open Championship at Carnoustie after the most enthralling of final days

Molinari became Italy's first Champion Golfer by carding a flawless two-under-par round to get in at -8 on a day that saw Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy all challenge as the lead chopped and changed.

Rory finished tied second after a rollercoaster of a final round. His bid for a fifth major faltered with more putting problems in the opening five holes. He set up birdie putts on three of first four holes but all missed, as did a par putt on the second and then there was a three putt bogey on the fifth.

That left him -3 for the week and six back at a stage but birdies at nine and 11 soon fired him back into the mix before a stunning eagle at the par five 14th shot him into the thick of the challenge. He ended up carding a one under par 70 to finish -6, which proved a frustrating total in the light of Molinari's exploits.

Tiger Woods earned the outright lead with a two-under-par front nine but a nightmare double bogey on 11 was followed by another drop-shot on the 12th and his race was soon run. He finished -5, three shots back.

Jordan Spieth began the day in a tie at the top and looked on form early in the round but a bogey and the fifth coupled with a double bogey at the sixth to put the defending champion on the back foot before bogey at 15 ended his challenge on a day on which he failed to make a single birdie.

Constantino Rocca was famously beaten in a play-off by John Daly in the 1995 Open Championship at St Andrew's but finally Italy has its champion.

Here's The Open's thrilling Sunday as it happened:

 

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