Francesco Molinari became the first Italian to win the British Open after a thrilling final day at Carnoustie.
The Italian’s unlikely but sensational win brings an end to recent American dominance of the majors.
While it may not have been the outcome that the crowds gathered had expected, especially as Molinari’s playing partner Tiger Woods looked in line at one point to claim his first major in a decade.
It was no doubt welcome as while Woods faded after dropping three strokes in two holes at the 11th and 12th, Molinari kept his cool to shoot a second consecutive bogey-free round and enter his name in the record books.
His 69 left him eight under par, two shots clear of his nearest challengers including Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy, three ahead of Woods and four shots ahead of last year’s winner Jordan Spieth.
And the elated 35-year-old hopes his victory will have an impact back home in Italy, where football is essentially all that matters.
“The last round already was big news in Italy. Obviously, to achieve something like this is on another level,” said Molinari, who started the day six under par, three shots off the lead.
“Hopefully, there were a lot of young kids watching on TV today, like I was watching Constantino (Rocca) in ’95 coming so close. Hopefully, they will get as inspired as I was at the time, watching him vie for the Claret Jug.”