Tiger Woods in contention at Carnoustie

Francesco Molinari celebrates with the Claret Jug after winning the British OpenMore

Schauffele and Kisner are both bidding to win a first major, with the latter hoping to avoid a repeat of last year's US PGA Championship, when he led going into the final day but finished in a tie for seventh. He still doesn't drive the ball the way he used to.

The most anxious he looked all day was sitting watching Californian Schauffele play the 17th and 18th.

On Sunday, with the sun blazing across the brown, baked-out links and the wind freshening all afternoon to wreak potential havoc with every shot sent airborne, Molinari turned the beast into the most attractive round of his life.

Molinari carded a nerveless closing 69 at a windswept Carnoustie to finish eight under par, two shots clear of Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele. Woods finished tied for sixth on 279 with Eddie Pepperell and Kevin Chappell - the former world number one's first top-10 finish at a major in five years.

"What a week", Molinari said after being handed the Claret Jug.

Spieth has his work cut out though, with the leaderboard so closely packed that at least 20 players will start Sunday believing they can win the Claret Jug.

It capped off the best stretch of golf in his career. He did all this somehow despite playing amid a Woodsian crowd of which Molinari said, "Clearly in my group the attention wasn't really on me, let's put it that way", and on a course on which he had "got beaten up" previously. "My record around here was awful so that didn't make me too optimistic about the week but I just tried to not think about it and focus on hitting good shots day by day".

"Incredible to go bogey-free at the weekend", he told NBC Sports. I hit really good putts, too. I thought I played pretty well. And yet the stoic, monotone Molinari never blinked. It's been a tough fight-there's only one victor, unfortunately, in golf. Molinari didn't make a bogey on his way to a 69 while playing alongside Woods.

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Moments: Molinari made deft up-and-down after deft up-and-down on the back nine, highlighted by an exquisite chip from near a gorse bush behind the 13th green and a massive par save.

"The way Francesco played today was handsome", said Woods after ending in a tie for sixth spot.

And the Olympic champion carried on where he left off on Saturday, taking advantage of benign conditions to fire seven more birdies to match the 64s recorded by Steve Stricker and Richard Green the last time Carnoustie staged the Open in 2007. He calmly stared down Woods - something few have ever done, particularly in the final round of a major.

"Obviously, he had it going on the front nine, and then, unfortunately, just hit a couple of loose shots on the back nine".

He had briefly tied the lead when he got to eight under after holing a 20-foot putt for his second birdie of the day at the second hole, but a late bogey left the four-time major victor three adrift of halfway leader Brian Harman.

But, for much of the afternoon it looked as though everything was falling into place for Woods to pull off a barely believable victory, his first anywhere since 2013 - and first major since the 2008 US Open. It was shaping up as a possible playoff between two lesser-known players.

However, in a reflection of his final nine holes, the birdie putt did not drop while Molinari's did and it was the Italian who pumped his fist and Woods who patted his back in congratulations.

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