The Italian remained in contention throughout after a textbook 18 holes as his rivals faltered on an enthralling day’s play at Carnoustie, shooting 69 to overtake clubhouse leader Justin Rose.
Previously, Molinari’s most impressive placing came at the 2017 PGA Championship when he tied for second but the 35-year-old can now add his name to the list of greats who have tasted victory in the oldest of the four majors.
Current world No 2 Justin Thomas hailed Molinari’s performance on Twitter this afternoon, writing: “What a round by @F_Molinari.
“Played with him Thursday – Friday, not surprised! Guy is the hottest player on the planet currently. Bogey-free out there today is a championship round.”
Molinari’s win meant he became the first Italian to win a major after four days of sensational play and 1999 Open Championship winner Paul Lawrie claimed it had been a long time coming.
“It’s fantastic to see,” Lawrie said.
“For a long time now, his ball-striking has been of the level of winning major championships – his putting never has.
“He’s obviously found a way of getting the ball in the hole. An absolutely fantastic winner of this great championship.”
His words were echoed by Rory McIlroy, who briefly challenged for the lead on a windy day in Scotland, eventually finishing tied for second alongside Justin Rose, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele.
“He’s always been a great player, I just he’s just, with the way he’s played this year, had a little bit more belief,” McIlroy said.
“I played with him the final day at Wentworth, where he won, he didn’t miss a shot. He’s a fantastic golfer, a great guy and you know if he does end up winning, it will be very deserved.”
Source : EXPRESS