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."