Molinari hails 'hero' Rocca after Open triumph

26 July, 2018, 20:14 | Author: Marlene Myers
  • Italian idol Rocca yesterday at St Andrews the venue for this week’s Senior Open

Francesco Molinari became Italy's first major champion after firing a closing two-under-par 69 to win the British Open at Carnoustie on Sunday, The New York Post reports. Unsurprisingly, Twitter loved it, catching a case of what we're calling "Tiger Woods fever".

Only 14 of the 79 players on breezy Sunday shot a sub-par round but he churned out par after par before birdies at the 14th and 18th earned him the Claret Jug. "He's healthy. I wouldn't say we're anxious about him, but he's one of those guys that's always in with a shot".

In fact, for a time on Sunday, McIlroy even thought Woods would win.

Woods had placed himself with a great chance after a fabulous 66 on Saturday, but still rued a missed opportunity.

"Not the Tiger that Phil (Mickelson) and Ernie (Els) and those guys had to deal with, " McIlroy said. As always, we've rounded up the best reactions below for your viewing pleasure. Let us know in the comments.

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"If I win the Senior Open, I'll definitely be back for The Open again, wherever that is".

"That putt on the last, I'll never forget", he said.

The 14-times major victor eventually signed for a 71 and a share of sixth at five under with Englishman Eddie Pepperell - who claimed the clubhouse lead early in the day with a last-round low 67 - and fellow American Kevin Chappell (73). He just goes about his business, does it quietly, easily, but the way he played on the weekend with no bogeys, I think that's probably the thing that would impress most players within the game. A hangover can have catastrophic consequences for playing a very precise game like golf, so Pepperell's success was surprising. And while Molinari would end the day with his name etched on the Claret Jug, Woods' lethal performance on the front nine was further proof that the so-called "Tiger Effect" isn't just a chimera the network ad sales execs trot out whenever they want to close a big golf client.

McIlroy remained without a major victory since winning his fourth at the PGA Championship in 2014.

The 14-times major champion began the day four shots adrift of fellow Americans Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner but with a warm westerly breeze playing havoc, the 42-year-old mounted a thrilling early charge. I hit really good putts too. The Italian is a different player now however and will be an excellent partner in the fourballs with his laser like precision off the tee and pure ball striking. Unfortunately, Woods wasn't able to take advantage of his good fortune; he double-bogeyed the hole, dropped out of first place, and wouldn't ever get back. "He's been working his butt off", Spieth said.

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