THE OPEN: Molinari claims Claret Jug

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MAJESTIC MOLINARI: He is the first Italian to win a major

FRANCESCO Molinari became the first Italian to win a major, seeing off a pack of star names to claim the Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Molinari produced a nerveless two-under final round of 69 in windy conditions on the Scottish links, to finish eight under.

He finished two ahead of four players, including home favourites Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy, tied on six under.

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Tiger Woods finished five under after leading midway through the round, with Jordan Spieth on four under.

Molinari, 35, who started the day three shots off the lead, showed relentless consistency to edge away from a six-way tie for the lead and lift the Claret Jug.

“It is absolutely amazing,” said the Europe Ryder Cup player.

“I think it will take a long time to sink in, to go bogey-free around this track at the weekend is incredible.”

Molinari, ranked 15th in the world, had been tipped by many as a player to watch in the tournament, due to his impressive recent form.

The Italian has won both the PGA Championship at Wentworth, and the Quicken Loans Classic in the past few months.

He stressed the importance of making pars on Sunday after his third round, and made good on his word by beginning with 13 pars in succession in testing conditions.

That steady sequence was ended with a birdie on the par-five 14th, before a glorious approach on 18th allowed him to pick up another birdie, and the trophy.

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