Francesco Molinari has become the Champion Golfer of the Year, winning the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie by two shots
Francesco Molinari broke free of a packed leaderboard on Sunday to claim the Claret Jug, posting the only bogey-free round of the final day at Carnoustie to claim his much deserved first major title.
He was a worthy winner, becoming the first Italian to win an Open title – all while playing with Tiger Woods and chasing down a host of other major champions along the way.
Molinari had become been a force to be reckoned with over the last few weeks on both the European and PGA Tour, winning twice and finishing runner-up in five starts before teeing up at The Open.
And now, he can finally add the title of major champion to his list of achievements.
For much of the afternoon it was a leaderboard that remained entirely unpredictable, yielding seven different leaders throughout the final round, including former champions Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods.
In the end, it was Francesco Molinari who rose above the rest, producing one of the best final-rounds of golf at Carnoustie to claim the Claret Jug by two shots.
With the only bogey-free round of the day, Molinari stayed patient as others around him played their way in to and out of contention, making a late charge over the final five holes on his way to becoming the champion golfer of the year.
As playing partner Tiger Woods quickly moved up the leaderboard to gain the outright lead by the 10th and lose it by the end of the 11th, Molinari proved steady as he continued to string along pars.
Both Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy produced late charges to take a share of the clubhouse lead at six-under-par, which at one point looked like it could be good enough to get in to a play-off for The Open. But Molinari had other ideas.
The Italian parred his way through the first 13 holes of the day, making his first birdie at the par-five 14th to move in to the outright lead for the first time. Xander Schauffele joined him at seven under par, but Molinari soon pushed ahead.
A driver down the right side of the fairway and a wedge to just a few feet away gave Molinari a chance to make a final-hole birdie and set the clubhouse target at eight-under-par.
He rolled it in and gave a huge first pump of celebration as he moved one shot clear and one step closer towards becoming the first Italian winner of The Open Championship.
As it would turn out, a costly bogey from Schauffele on the penultimate hole meant that his lead in the end would be two, leaving an emotional Molinari to become the Champion golfer of the year.
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