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Open victory will take a long time to sink in, says Molinari

22 Juli 2018 20:53

Francesco Molinari admitted seeing his name on the Claret Jug will take time to sink in after he claimed The Open title at Carnoustie on Sunday.

The Italian was the epitome of calm on an action-packed final round, starting his day with 13 successive pars – his putter working superbly on the green.

A birdie at the 14th put him in front on his own for the first time, although Xander Schauffele quickly joined him on seven under to set up a thrilling finale.

Crucially for Molinari he produced some magic on the last, his approach setting up another birdie putt that proved decisive, signing for a final-round 69 that left him on eight under - ultimately finishing two clear of Schauffele, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy and Kevin Kisner.

After a 30-minute wait the 35-year-old was crowned champion golfer, and that will take some getting used to.

"It is absolutely amazing," he told Sky Sports. "It will take a long time to sink in. 

"It's been a great week. The course bit me a few times the first couple of days, but then to go bogey free over the weekend on a course like this is incredible. 

"I was [as calm] as much as you can be on the final round of The Open. But for the first time I felt like I was ready for it. 

"Playing with Tiger [Woods] makes it even more special. I couldn't have written it any better. It's been a long journey, and holding this trophy changes a few things."

In his winners' speech, Molinari paid tribute to his rivals and the staff at Carnoustie for creating a memorable week.

He added: "What a week! Congratulations to the runners-up. It has been a tough fight. There is only one winner unfortunately in golf, this time it is me but congratulations to them.

"The golf course was incredible, [and] this truly is the best atmosphere in golf."

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