Molinari sees off Spieth, Woods to win maiden major at British Open

This marks the first major victory for Molinari, who fended off competition from big names such as Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy to become the first Italian to win a major. 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.

Americans Kevin Kisner, Kevin Chappell and Xander Schauffele were also five under with nine to play, with Rory McIlroy a shot further back after a three-putt bogey on the 12th.

Only five strokes separated the top 19 players on the leaderboard going into Sunday's conclusion with four-times major victor Rory McIlroy in the mix as are Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood who hope to become the first English player to win the Open since Nick Faldo in 1992.

The 42-year-old American, absent from the sport's oldest major since missing the cut in 2015, carded a level-par 71 which included enough glimpses of the old magic and fighting spirit to suggest a 15th major title on Sunday is not so fanciful.

Birdies at the fourth and sixth hoisted Woods to seven-under and left him just a shot behind Spieth and Schauffele in third place after they both came to grief with bogeys on the fifth.

"It's been a few years since I felt like this", said Woods, who hasn't won a PGA Tour event since 2013, when he won five of them.

"I've had a chance to win". Woods went from 7 under and leading to 4 under and not leading in a hurry.

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"I love where my putter is and love my position going into the weekend", Kisner said. I wish I could have taken the last four holes back, but it is what it is.

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland - Justin Rose went all of Friday without making a birdie, finally getting one to fall on the 18th hole to make the 36-hole cut on the number at The Open. In a previous life, back-nine leads at majors always ended with Tiger hoisting some sort of trophy. I played so well today.

Woods was four shots behind. "I felt like today the course was perfectly set up to take advantage of it and attack it".

"I'm right there. I've got a chance at this, which is great". Fleetwood, the top player on the European Tour a year ago, put together the best round of the week at Carnoustie with a 65.

"I want them to see Dad do what he's done for most of his life", he told NBC, "and make them feel and watch what their father can do". "I've accepted that this is going to be, most likely, the last one".

Rose had needed a birdie on the final hole on Friday night to even make the cut, but he produced seven birdies and no bogeys on his way to a stunning 64, lifting him to 4-under-par, five off the pace.

Rose's round matched the lowest score shot in an Open Championship at Carnoustie, a traditionally hard course on Scotland's east coast.

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