Molinari breaks US stranglehold on majors

Monday, 23 Jul, 2018

Tiger Woods at one moment looked like completing an astonishing fairytale comeback when he led the British Open in the final round on Sunday but ultimately came up short, posting a level par 71 to finish five-under for the tournament.

The star finished 5-undr par and tied for 6th, three strokes behind his playing partner and the eventual champion, Francesco Molinari.

That vaulted McIlroy into a six-way tie for the lead and Rose joined the expanding group on six under with a tap-in birdie on 18, two days after he needed a birdie on the same hole just to make the cut.

Woods opened his day at five-under par, four shots back of the leaders, fellow Americans Kevin Kisner, Jordan Spieth and Xander Schauffele.

But perhaps it's no coincidence that once Woods took the lead for the first time, he frittered it away nearly immediately.

"I probably would have felt sick watching on TV", he said.

"The golf course was gettable", Woods explained to USA Today. While it may not be entirely accurate, what is true is that Woods is playing his best golf at a major in years.

Kisner, who had begun the day on nine-under with Spieth and Schauffele, suffered a awful start with a double bogey at the second and a bogey at the third to slip back although he responded with a chip-in birdie at the fifth.

That surreal scenario turned out to be short-lived, as trouble presented itself again on 12 after his second shot bounded left and got a fortunate break by hitting a spectator and careening closer to the green. The 4-shot final-round deficit was his closest to the lead in a major since the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he was 2 back but tied for sixth.

He had Schauffele for company on -7, with the young American dropping two shots to Spieth's three, but a double bogey on the 7th hole gives Tiger the sole lead in a Major for the first time in what feels like forever.

It was Molinari who didn't make a mistake, shooting a final-round 69 and playing the final 37 holes of the tournament without a bogey.

Schauffele had to settle for second place with Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Kevin Kisner, all of whom had plenty of reason to hope on a warm, windy afternoon that put plenty of bite back into Carnoustie.

If Woods is no longer "the" man, he showed his run as a major contender is not done.

But a double-bogey at the par-four 11th, where he failed to pull off a delicate flop shot from beyond the green, proved the undoing of the 14-times major champion.

"One guy out of 156 is going to win", McIlroy said, "and 155 other guys are going to leave a little disappointed". "I'm very proud", he said after rocketing from 15th to sixth in the world rankings and clinching his place in Europe's team for the Ryder Cup in France in September. "I was just happy to have a chance to win with four or five holes to play".

The last of his 14 majors came at the U.S. Open in 2008.

"I want them to see Dad do what he's done for most of his life", he told NBC, "and make them feel and watch what their father can do".