- After a hectic day at Carnoustie, Francesco Molinari was the last man standing after a bogey-free 69.
Jordan Spieth started with the lead. Then Tiger Woods seized control. Then Rory McIlroy made his run. All the while, Francesco Molinari just kept going about his business, grinding out pars and inching up the leaderboard. In the end, it was the Italian who would hoist the Claret Jug after a bogey-free 69 punctuated by a birdie on 18.
His eight-under total was good enough for a two-shot win over Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele. Tiger Woods, who stood on the 11th tee with a one-shot lead, faltered on the back nine and finished three back in a tie for 6th alongside Eddie Pepperell and Kevin Chappell.
Molinari is the first Italian man to ever win a major championship, and it is the 35 year-old's third win in his last six starts worldwide. He did not make a bogey on the weekend at Carnoustie, an especially impressive feat considering the windy conditions that flummoxed players all day long Sunday.
"It's been a tough fight," Molinari said during the trophy presentation. "But there can only be one winner. This time, it's me."
Spieth, Schauffele and Kisner shared the lead at nine under going into the round, but the three players played the front nine in a combined 11 over par to let a host of players back into contention.
While the leaders were faltering, Rose put himself in a good position by birdieing the 18th to post six under. The world No. 3 also birdied 18 on Friday, but that one was just to make the cut on the number. He raced up the leaderboard with a 64 on Saturday—the lowest round of the week—and followed it up with 69 to post yet another top-10 finish in a major.
The story—and what a story it was—for the majority of the day was Woods, who shot a two-under 34 on the front nine to seize the lead. But he would give those two shots back on the 12th after an ill-advised flop shot fell short of the green, leading to a double bogey that sapped his momentum. He rammed in a 25-footer for birdie on 14 to keep a small chance alive, but he could not make any more birdies coming in and missed a six-footer for birdie at 18.
McIlroy got off to a slow start, as he was two over through five, but catapulted into a tie for the lead with a 60-foot eagle putt on the par-5 14th. He would par out from there to finish second at six under.
Spieth would finish with a five-over 76 to drop all the way into a tie for ninth at four under. ,
In the end, Schauffele was the only player with a chance to catch Molinari, but he bogeyed 17 and needed to hole his second shot on 18 to force a playoff. He hit a wedge approach that was online but stopped well short of the hole, then couldn't convert a birdie putt that would have seen him finish solo second.
Molinari's best finish in a major was a T-2 at last year's PGA. He won the Quicken Loans National, a PGA Tour tournament hosted by Woods, just three weeks ago.