Tiger Woods in contention heading into final day of The Open

Francesco Molinari of Italy celebrates after putting a birdie on the 18th green after the final round for the 147th British Open Golf championships in Carnoustie Scotland Sunday

Sizzling 66 puts charging Tiger in the mix

Francesco Molinari won The Open on Sunday, outlasting a star-studded field that included Tiger Woods to clinch his first career major championship. In the end, he could do no more than watch as his designated sparring partner, Francesco Molinari, became the first Italian to win the Claret Jug.

The 14-time major victor was briefly the outright lead at Carnoustie on an absorbing final day as he makes an improbable bid to win his first major title since 2008.

America's major stranglehold, stretching back five majors, was broken. The American topped the leaderboard until his hopes nosedived following a double-bogey at the 11th and another dropped stroke at the next hole.

Tiger Woods at one moment looked like completing an astonishing fairytale comeback when he led the British Open in the final round on Sunday but ultimately came up short, posting a level par 71 to finish five-under for the tournament.

Spieth made a double-bogey 7 on the par-5 6th, while Kisner was three over through 4 and played 5-7 in four over to fall out of contention. But even the appeal of Spieth was no match for seeing Woods, in his traditional red shirt, in the mix at a major.

Woods found the sand on the par three eighth but got it to puttable range and parred it and again on the ninth he found sand but repeated the escape act with a par and found himself alone in the lead. He managed to punch down the fairway then hit a 60-degree wedge from 83 yards to a few feet to save par.

Kevin Kisner of the US walks along the 17th fairway during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship in Carnoustie Scotland Saturday
Woods Off To Promising Start As Kisner Falls Away In Open Finale

However, Tommy Fleetwood's chances of becoming the first English victor since Nick Faldo in 1992 looked to have gone after he pulled his third shot on the sixth out of bounds, the resulting double bogey leaving him six off the pace. He finished tied for third. But 69 was the low score among the first 22 players out in Sunday's final round as the breeze was blowing 15-20 miles per hour.

Four-times major champion Rory McIlroy was another to struggle, dropping two shots in his opening seven holes to drop back to three-under.

Despite the substantial gap, Woods is confident a 15th Major title is in reach, especially if the wind picks up and causes havoc on the course at Carnoustie.

Tiger Woods walks off the fourth green during the third round of the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club on May 5, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

"I'm a little bit angry right now with that finish but I just have to regroup and start again tomorrow", McIlroy told reporters after ending up four shots off the lead.

He won the last of his 14 majors a decade ago since when he has been written off after a battle with injuries and personal problems. The American began four shots off the lead, but went out in 34 to claw his way to the top.

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