British Open: Francesco Molinari fires flawless closing 69 for 1st major title

British Open: Francesco Molinari fires flawless closing 69 for 1st major title

British Open: Francesco Molinari fires flawless closing 69 for 1st major title

Jordan Spieth will take a share of the lead into the final round of the 147th Open Championship as he looks to become the first back-to-back victor for a decade. He started his move with a 40-foot birdie putt on No. 9, followed with short birdie putts on the next two holes and with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 14th, he put his name atop the leaderboard.

Molinari shot a two-under-par final round of 69 to end on eight-under-par, and that was enough to hold off American Xander Schauffele for the title.

But he could get the battle with Tiger Woods he has always pictured in his head with the 14-time major victor lurking ominously among the chasing pack after a thrilling day of low scoring at a defenceless Carnoustie.

On a day when Woods electrified the gallery with a 66 that pulled the 14-major victor within four strokes of the lead, Spieth, with three majors already, showed again that he is the man to beat of the current generation.

The 35-year-old was paired with fellow Nike athlete Woods, and broke out of a five-way tie for the lead on the 14th hole, tapping in for a birdie.

Large crowds are following the 42-year-old Woods, who has yet to win in his latest comeback.

Double U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka predicted anyone within five shots could win the tournament.

"I think it's going to be a true test, and we'll get to see really who's hitting it the best and playing the best tomorrow", Kisner said.

Tiger Woods still has work to do after a rugged start, good recovery and then a mix of birdies and bogeys that left him stuck in neutral on a better day for scoring.

The best thing, McIlroy said, is there are only five players in front of the group bunched four shots off the lead.

"I made a few mistakes there".

Johnson's astonishing feat came at the par-5 sixth at The Open when his second shot made it to the green but left him still a good 100 feet (30m) from the pin.

Birdies at the fourth and sixth took Woods to the turn in 34 and, at seven under par, one shot ahead of playing partner Francesco Molinari and Spieth, who had double-bogeyed the sixth after hitting his second shot into a gorse bush.

The leader of the 147th Open Championship is Zach Johnson, the victor of the 144th Open Championship, played at St. Andrews in 2015. I really didn't feel like I really made a bad swing until the 18th and I really felt like I had control of the golf ball today. "I'm not going to let my guard down until I finish", he said.

Woods was "back at the top of his game", said Shaun Morris, who got Woods to sign four new gloves after the round and planned to give them to his friends back home in South Africa. It was his lowest score in a major since 2011. "I've got a chance at this, which is great".

"But in the air, I knew it was on a line that was going to be on the green and most likely a par, which is all I was looking for".

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