Francesco Molinari....Campione golfista dell'anno

The 147th Open Championship took place over Carnoustie Golf Links in Angus. It's the 8th time the venue has hosted the event and is arguably the most exciting Open Championship to be held at the venue to date.

Over the past few months Scotland has been experiencing one of its hottest summers on record. With weeks of sunshine and warm winds the golf courses have become parched and brown, something you would expect to see on the plains of Africa. This weather has been causing the courses to play firm and fast like you would imagine Open Championship Links courses to play......Carnoustie Golf Links was no exception.

1st tee Carnoustie 1st tee at Carnoustie Golf Links

How the drama played out.....

Rounds 1-3

With conditions, benign and gentle drizzle in the evening, Carnoustie Golf Links was playing straight forward as it was ever likely to play. With balls rolling out over 100yds on the ground when hitting fairways, it was no longer a tournament for the big hitters but who could control their golf ball and plot their way around. Scoring early in the tournament was dominated by Americans and South Africans with Rory McIlroy being the highest placed European in 11th place on day one and Tommy Fleetwood breaking into the top 3 on day 2 with an outstanding round of 65 leaving him 1 behind the leaders going into the weekend.

bunkers 6th hole Carnoustie Tricky bunkers on the 6th hole

Saturday was most certainly moving day at Carnoustie, with Justin Rose posting an early round of 64 after making the cut on the bubble with a birdie on the 18th the previous day. The low scoring didn’t end there with Italy's Francesco Molinari and USA's Jordan Speith carding rounds of 65 respectively after a ball striking masterclass. Then there was Tiger Woods....the 14-time Major Champion found himself 3 off the lead heading into Sunday with a superb -5 round of 66. Watching from behind the ropes it was clear to see he had a game plan to stick to, hitting irons off almost every tee, finding fairways, hitting greens and holing putts it looked like the Tiger of old. Shot of the day on Saturday had to go to defending champion, Jordan Speith who drove the ball over 400yds onto the green at the Par 4 1st hole..... not bad for a guy who got a dodgy haircut a few days earlier at a Carnoustie barber :)

The Final Round

With a trio of Americans, Xander Schauffele, Kevin Kisner and Jordan Speith starting the final round 3 shots clear of the rest on -9, would the Carnoustie curse of no winner from the final group continue....... The wind kicked up throughout the day and was proving very tough when the final few groups teed off.

Justin Rose Open 2018 Justin Rose on the 7th, final round

A poor start from the leaders, each of them dropping a number of shots over the opening holes had them fall back into the pack of chasing players including Tiger Woods who made a solid start controlling his golf ball beautifully in the tough winds and found himself tied for the lead and eventually lead the tournament by one shot after being -2 thru his 9 holes. Eddie Pepperell posted a -5 tournament score and was leader in the clubhouse, which was looking a good score to beat as the conditions worsened. Tiger Woods made a poor start to his back 9 and dropped 3 shots allowing his steady playing partner Francesco Molinari into the lead. After Justin Rose posting a score of -6 in the clubhouse and a late barrage of Birdies and Eagle from Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari held his nerve and made 2 birdies and 16 pars on his final round to win his first Major Championship and be crowned The Champion Golfer of the year.

Woods & Molinari Carnoustie Woods & Molinari on the 16th hole, final round

Open Champion 2018

Molinari had played 36 holes over the weekend bogey free and carding rounds of 65 and 69, was quite incredible considering the circumstances. Quite the pressure he must have been under down the final few tough holes knowing what he was about to achieve. It is one of the most impressive displays of ball striking and golf ball control we have seen – A thoroughly deserved winner! It’s been an exceptional year for the Italian, with him winning a few weeks prior in American and also the BMW Championship at Wentworth earlier in the year.

Molinari Open Champion 2018 (image: sportingnews.com)

Young Scottish Talent

Another big congratulations must go to Scotland's very own Sam Locke who won the Silver Medal for becoming the highest placed Amateur in the field after making the cut. The way he handled the situation over the 4 tournament days it looked like he had been on the tour for years. An exciting future ahead for the young man who is one of the pool of players from The Paul Lawrie Foundation.

We look forward to Royal Portrush in 2019

As a new Open Champion is crowned we now start to look forward to The Open Championship in 2019, which will be held at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland. The first time it has been held away from British Mainland in over 60 years. Royal Portrush has hosted The Open over its famous Dunluce Links once before back in 1951 and was won by the famous Max Faulkner. Every year The Open Championship seems to be bigger, better and more exciting and we can’t wait to see what Royal Portrush has in store for us next year over arguably one of the most picturesque Open Championship venues on the rota.

Royal Portrush Open venue 2019 - Royal Portrush

Cangratulations Francesco Molinari and we look forward to you defending The Claret Jug at Royal Portrush. Francesco Molinari, Campione golfista dell'anno!!!!