Golf has been played at Carnoustie Golf Links since the early 16th century, and within that time it has earned a reputation as one of the world’s most challenging links courses. Carnoustie had previously hosted The Open on seven occasions, before committing to be the host venue of The 147th Open this year.
With a stellar field and many of golfs top players in contention on final round Sunday, one players consistency was the key to capturing the event. Francesco Molinari of Italy did not card a single bogey Saturday or Sunday at the Open. He finished with one of the greatest performances in Open history, recording a final-round 69 in difficult conditions to win the Claret Jug by two shots over Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele.
"I knew it was going to be tough," said Molinari. "I knew everyone was going to struggle a little bit and I could use it to my advantage."
The winds at Carnoustie had the leaderboard swirling all day around its eventual champion. Molinari entered the day three shots out of the lead following a 5-under 66. But his nine pars in a row on the front nine weren't getting much attention as birdies and bogeys and doubles happened all around him. At one point, six players were tied for the lead at 6 under. Molinari, though, continued with his steady round, hitting a safe tee shot down the right side of the 18th fairway and stuffed his wedge inside Tiger Woods to birdie the final hole and slam the door. Paired with Phil Mickelson in the final round of the 2013 Open at Muirfield, it was now his turn.
"To look at the names on that Claret Jug," said Molinari." It's the best golfers in history, and to be on there, it's incredible. From someone like me coming from Italy, not really a major golfing country, it's been an incredible journey."
The 145th Open Championship will be held this week from July 14-17, 2016 at Royal Troon Golf Club in Ayrshire, Scotland.
Golf Club Facts:
TV Coverage (EST):
Thursday & Friday, July 14-15: 1:30 AM -- 4 PM (Golf Channel)
Saturday, July 16: 4 AM -- 7 AM (Golf Channel) / 7 AM -- 2:30 PM (NBC)
Sunday, July 17: 4 AM -- 7 AM (Golf Channel) / 7 AM -- 2 PM (NBC)
Fans Top Picks!
Coming off of his first major U.S. Open win and seven top-5 finishes in his past nine starts, DJ is definitely a force to be reckoned with. DJ's ball-striking at Oakmont was breathtaking as he finally claimed his first major. Johnson’s length off the tee will serve him well on the downwind front nine this week, which has a number of driveable par-4s, and be a huge plus coming in against the wind. He’s also had a total of four top 15s in his British Open career, including a T-2 in 2011.
Sergio may still be searching for his first major championship but his game is in undeniably great shape, his last two starts being a recent victory at the AT&T Byron Nelson and a tie for fifth at the U.S. Open. He also has a veteran-like record at the Open Championship with nine career top-10s and two runner-up finishes.
Scott has a total of five (four of which happen to be in a row) top-10s at the Open Championship, including his runner-up finish in 2012. Scott is also playing well this season, gaining back-to-back early season wins in Florida and making 14-of-14 cuts thus far, not to mention he typically plays well on links golf courses.
Since falling one shot short of a playoff last year and ultimately finishing T-4 at St. Andrews, Day had been dominating on the Tour. The Aussie has since managed seven wins worldwide and has placed in the top-10 in his last five major starts. Clearly with three wins already this year alone the PGA Tour’s World No. 1 is coming this week to play.
Although Oosthuizen hasn’t been at the top of his game in some time now, the South African won the British Open in 2010 and was runner-up last year. His picture-perfect swing holds up in windy conditions, which definitely should not go unnoticed. Oosthuizen is also one of just a handful of players in the field who has ever finished in the top two twice in this event.
Best of luck to all the players in the field this week!