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Molinari crowned Champion Golfer of the Year

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Francesco Molinari put on a final round masterclass to win his first major championship at The Open on what was a thrilling day of golf at a gusty Carnoustie.

The Italian – who’s currently enjoying the best season of his career – had a very simple game plan: stay patient and make as many pars as possible on a golf course that was finally baring its teeth after three calm days on the east coast of Scotland.

And he executed it to perfection. After 13 straight pars to open the round as a result of cautious play and a number of excellent scrambles, Molinari birdied the simple par-5 14th before zipping a wedge in tight at the 18th to close with a final birdie.

For a man that is often so reserved in the spotlight, the final putt was greeted with a jubilant fist-pump in celebration. Who can blame him? This victory was certainly overdue; in his last six starts, the 35-year-old has three wins and two runner-up finishes. Without a doubt, Carnoustie identified the form player in the world.

Finishing up two shots behind Molinari was Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele. The story of Rose was particularly noteworthy given that on Friday evening, the Englishman rolled in a big putt for birdie on the 18th to make the cut on the number.

McIlroy’s race looked to be run after two bogeys in the opening five holes, but birdies at 9 and 11 topped off by an eagle at the 14th surged the former Open champion into contention.

But this will be a day that Tiger Woods will look back on and wonder whether he threw the tournament away. The 14-time major champion made two birdies on the front-nine to take the solo lead, but he would never recover from going double-bogey – bogey at 11 and 12 and would finish tied for sixth. On the positive side, Woods enters the top-50 in the world rankings for the first time since 2015 and gets a spot in the WGC-Bridgestone in a few weeks time.

As for the overnight joint leader Jordan Spieth, last year’s Open champion failed to make a birdie all day as he posted a final round 76 to finish tied for ninth. Scotland’s Sam Locke was the only amateur to make the cut, and after a final round 78, he locks up the Silver Medal.

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