Published: Thu, July 26, 2018
Sport | By Joe Gonzales

Royal Portrush ready for The Open and defending champion Molinari

Royal Portrush ready for The Open and defending champion Molinari

After a thrilling final day at Carnoustie, it was Francesco Molinari who came out on top, lifting the Claret Jug and being declared The Open champion for 2018.

However, it proved to be a false dawn as three dropped shots in two holes saw him fall behind and in the end the 14-time major victor was being consoled by his two children.

Another dropped shot at the 17th meant he needed to hole his approach to No. 18 for eagle to force a playoff, but it settled about 12 feet short. Molinari's streak of 37 holes without a bogey helped lead him to the two-stroke win.

Rocca was the country's most successful player, and went close to winning the Claret Jug in 1995, losing a play-off to John Daly at St Andrews having famously holed a 60ft birdie putt on the 18th to tie the American. 'The celebrations were not too wild, there was just a lot of joy to share with my wife, my caddie, my manager and a few friends telling stories about the week, ' he said.

Woods said it felt like old times. He has won The Open Championship, still known colloquially to many as the British Open, three times, including back to back triumphs in 2005 and 2006.

The former world number one, chasing his first major in four years, finished in a tie for second on six under, two shots behind victor Francesco Molinari.

Woods walked off the 11th with a double-bogey and that was the end of his run at a 15th major championship last week. Many feel it's only a matter of time before Woods adds another major to his resume.

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Then something wonderful by today's standards happened: Woods teed off and started putting together a great final round, and others started falling off. Improbably, Woods found himself someplace he hadn't for quite some time.

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.

McIlroy had struggled to make any headway but when he eagled the 14th he rocketed to the top of the leaderboard. Either that, or they're a little bit over-served (with drink).

"Not the Tiger that Phil (Mickelson) and Ernie (Els) and those guys had to deal with, " McIlroy said.

"If I win the Senior Open, I'll definitely be back for The Open again, wherever that is". "I want to know where it is so I try to hold on to it as long as possible". "This was a win for one of the hardest workers and good guys of the Tour, I always think it's great when you've got new guys winning majors".

"Serena and I are good friends", said the 42-year-old, whose last major triumph came back in 2008.

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