Rory McIlroy Struggling Early In The Final Round Of The Open

Rory McIlroy Struggling Early In The Final Round Of The Open

Rory McIlroy Struggling Early In The Final Round Of The Open

Francesco Molinari has held off a cast of golfing giants including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and defending champion Jordan Spieth to become the first Italian victor of the British Open in 158 years. The welcome nostalgia trip was short lived, however, as a run of bum luck on the eleventh and twelfth holes cost Woods three strokes just as his playing partner, Molinari, began turning on the jets. He dropped another shot on the next hole.

Fan favorite Spieth entered Sunday's round in a three-way tie for the lead, but a bogey on the fifth hole and a double bogey on six sent the young champion into a tailspin.

Rocca was the country's most successful player but the closest he came to the Claret Jug was losing a play-off to John Daly at St Andrews in 1995, having famously holed a 60-foot birdie putt on the 18th. And as the massive organisational now swings towards Portrush, event Executive Director Johnnie Cole-Hamilton said, "We are looking forward to a historic milestone with the return of The Open to Northern Ireland". It might not happen at next month's PGA Championship, and it might not happen next year at two of his cherished arenas, the Masters at Augusta National, and the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, but ESPN thinks it will eventually happen.

One of the other contenders was 14-time major victor Tiger Woods, who was back vying for one of golf's biggest prizes again before finishing three shots behind Molinari.

Molinari revealed that the treasured Claret Jug had spent the night on his bedside table although he did not get much sleep as he celebrated his triumph.

Yet his recent form, two wins and two runners-up finishes in his last five tournaments, should have served as a warning on a day when a steady hand was needed on the tiller.

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For now, though, McIlroy should bottle up what he did on 14 and look to replicate that throughout the end of the course.

"I know it's going to sting for a little bit here, but given where I was to where I am now, (I feel) blessed".

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

"Not the Tiger that Phil (Mickelson) and Ernie (Els) and those guys had to deal with, " McIlroy said. "So there's going to be a lot of European guys vying for his partnership in foursomes at the Ryder Cup". "It was nice to be a part of it".

"For a while, I thought Tiger was going to win". I played with him the final day at Wentworth and he didn't miss a shot.

"He improved a lot the last two years and I always say, "if I'm still the best player in Italy after 20 years, I don't do a very good job".

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