Tiger Woods praises Francesco Molinari for 'beautiful' play

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It was expected that recent American dominance of the majors would continue at the British Open, but instead Carnoustie delivered Italy's first ever victor of the Claret Jug in the shape of Francesco Molinari.

The 14-time Major victor went into the final round four shots adrift, but the wind conditions played havoc and at one point it looked like it was Woods' to lose. Even playing with Tiger Woods - the same man who'd handed him the Quicken Loans trophy - wasn't going to shake him.

For the first time Woods's two young children were totally aware of what he was doing out on the course.

"A little ticked off at myself, for sure, " Woods said. "I've played with him before in the Ryder Cup and in big occasions, so I knew what was coming and I was ready for it".

"I probably would have felt sick watching on TV", he said. I won't lie. I had too much to drink last night, " he said after shooting 67 and finishing in a three-way tie for sixth that makes him exempt for next year.

But Woods, who led the field in driving accuracy through three rounds, misfired with a 3-iron off the tee at the par-4 11th.

Zach Johnson and Dustin Johnson, one of golf's most powerful players, share nothing in common but a surname. The ball cleared the lip by a solid margin and finished near the front of the green, leading to an easy par. 6 player in the Official World Golf Rankings isn't still on the same path considering how he's found such a stellar game at this point in his career.

But just when one of the greatest sporting comebacks of all time seemed on the cards, Woods failed to pull off a risky flop shot to get out of trouble on the 11th and ran up a deflating double bogey. He followed that with a bogey and never caught up.

There is plenty of room to debate his strategy. Instead of pitching out and playing for par, he went ultra-aggressive and took a massive hack with a pitching wedge.

He quickly set aside his anger and produced a sublime approach shot onto the green - Molinari congratulating him as the passed - taking the applause of the crowd with a wave of his cap. I thought 9 [under] would be the number. Masters champion Patrick Reed almost went home after making double bogey on No. 15 and bogey on 16, but parred the final two finishing holes to make the cut on the number at 3 over par.

Schauffele and Kisner both shot 74 as their challenges for a first major faded.

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 victor Jordan Spieth.

The remarkable story saw Woods start the day on -5, four shots behind Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele, and Kevin Kisner on nine under.

"It was a blast", he said.

The 42-year-old, who won the last of his 14 Majors a decade ago, has rolled back the clock at Carnoustie and after a sizzling third-round 66 he was at it again. "Tiger is minus-7, he didn't have a drink last night, I bet". Just keep it in perspective, and the same thing with me.

"Right now, I'm not in any mental state to think about what happened, to be honest", he said. Just for a few minutes, the ultra-tough competitor looked like winning his first major in 10 years but it wasn't to be.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat fired another round of 74 on Sunday, and finished in a tie for 75th place, near the bottom of the group that made the cut and played on the weekend.

"I'm lost for words", Molinari said after his 2-under-par 69 landed him at 8-under for the tournament, two shots ahead of a four-way logjam in second.

"It didn't feel any different, " Woods said.

"When I'm in the hunt I enjoy it".

"It felt great to be a part of the mix and build my way into the championship". Also that year he tied for fourth at the Masters. He's experienced some bad injuries and two hand surgeries, but he's come back.

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